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

Sister Carrie, by Theodore Dreiser

Part 9 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.

A nervous, comely-dressed little girl stepped out. Carrie
trembled for her out of the fulness of her own sympathies and

"Yes, sir," said Miss Maitland.

"Is there anything the matter with your ears?"

"No, sir."

"Do you know what 'column left' means?"

"Yes, sir."

"Well, what are you stumbling around the right for? Want to break
up the line?"

"I was just"

"Never mind what you were just. Keep your ears open."

Carrie pitied, and trembled for her turn.

Yet another suffered the pain of personal rebuke.

"Hold on a minute," cried the manager, throwing up his hands, as
if in despair. His demeanour was fierce.

"Elvers," he shouted, "what have you got in your mouth?"

"Nothing," said Miss Elvers, while some smiled and stood
nervously by.

"Well, are you talking?"

"No, sir."

"Well, keep your mouth still then. Now, all together again."

At last Carrie's turn came. It was because of her extreme
anxiety to do all that was required that brought on the trouble.

She heard some one called.

"Mason," said the voice. "Miss Mason."

She looked around to see who it could be. A girl behind shoved
her a little, but she did not understand.

"You, you!" said the manager. "Can't you hear?"

"Oh," said Carrie, collapsing, and blushing fiercely.

"Isn't your name Mason?" asked the manager.

"No, sir," said Carrie, "it's Madenda."

"Well, what's the matter with your feet? Can't you dance?"

"Yes, sir," said Carrie, who had long since learned this art.

"Why don't you do it then? Don't go shuffling along as if you
were dead. I've got to have people with life in them."

Carrie's cheek burned with a crimson heat. Her lips trembled a

"Yes, sir," she said.

It was this constant urging, coupled with irascibility and
energy, for three long hours. Carrie came away worn enough in
body, but too excited in mind to notice it. She meant to go home
and practise her evolutions as prescribed. She would not err in
any way, if she could help it.

When she reached the flat Hurstwood was not there. For a wonder
he was out looking for work, as she supposed. She took only a
mouthful to eat and then practised on, sustained by visions of
freedom from financial distress--"The sound of glory ringing in
her ears."

When Hurstwood returned he was not so elated as when he went
away, and now she was obliged to drop practice and get dinner.
Here was an early irritation. She would have her work and this.
Was she going to act and keep house?

"I'll not do it," she said, "after I get started. He can take
his meals out."

Each day thereafter brought its cares. She found it was not such
a wonderful thing to be in the chorus, and she also learned that
her salary would be twelve dollars a week. After a few days she
had her first sight of those high and mighties--the leading
ladies and gentlemen. She saw that they were privileged and
deferred to. She was nothing--absolutely nothing at all.

At home was Hurstwood, daily giving her cause for thought. He
seemed to get nothing to do, and yet he made bold to inquire how
she was getting along. The regularity with which he did this
smacked of some one who was waiting to live upon her labour. Now
that she had a visible means of support, this irritated her. He
seemed to be depending upon her little twelve dollars.

"How are you getting along?" he would blandly inquire.

"Oh, all right," she would reply.

"Find it easy?"

"It will be all right when I get used to it."

His paper would then engross his thoughts.

"I got some lard," he would add, as an afterthought. "I thought
maybe you might want to make some biscuit."

The calm suggestion of the man astonished her a little,
especially in the light of recent developments. Her dawning
independence gave her more courage to observe, and she felt as if
she wanted to say things. Still she could not talk to him as she
had to Drouet. There was something in the man's manner of which
she had always stood in awe. He seemed to have some invisible
strength in reserve.

One day, after her first week's rehearsal, what she expected came
openly to the surface.

"We'll have to be rather saving," he said, laying down some meat
he had purchased. "You won't get any money for a week or so

"No," said Carrie, who was stirring a pan at the stove.

"I've only got the rent and thirteen dollars more," he added.

"That's it," she said to herself. "I'm to use my money now."

Instantly she remembered that she had hoped to buy a few things
for herself. She needed clothes. Her hat was not nice.

"What will twelve dollars do towards keeping up this flat?" she
thought. "I can't do it. Why doesn't he get something to do?"

The important night of the first real performance came. She did
not suggest to Hurstwood that he come and see. He did not think
of going. It would only be money wasted. She had such a small

The advertisements were already in the papers; the posters upon
the bill-boards. The leading lady and many members were cited.
Carrie was nothing.

As in Chicago, she was seized with stage fright as the very first
entrance of the ballet approached, but later she recovered. The
apparent and painful insignificance of the part took fear away
from her. She felt that she was so obscure it did not matter.
Fortunately, she did not have to wear tights. A group of twelve
were assigned pretty golden-hued skirts which came only to a line
about an inch above the knee. Carrie happened to be one of the

In standing about the stage, marching, and occasionally lifting
up her voice in the general chorus, she had a chance to observe
the audience and to see the inauguration of a great hit. There
was plenty of applause, but she could not help noting how poorly
some of the women of alleged ability did.

"I could do better than that," Carrie ventured to herself, in
several instances. To do her justice, she was right.

After it was over she dressed quickly, and as the manager had
scolded some others and passed her, she imagined she must have
proved satisfactory. She wanted to get out quickly, because she
knew but few, and the stars were gossiping. Outside were
carriages and some correct youths in attractive clothing,
waiting. Carrie saw that she was scanned closely. The flutter
of an eyelash would have brought her a companion. That she did
not give.

One experienced youth volunteered, anyhow.

"Not going home alone, are you?" he said.

Carrie merely hastened her steps and took the Sixth Avenue car.
Her head was so full of the wonder of it that she had time for
nothing else.

"Did you hear any more from the brewery?" she asked at the end of
the week, hoping by the question to stir him on to action.

"No," he answered, "they're not quite ready yet. I think
something will come of that, though."

She said nothing more then, objecting to giving up her own money,
and yet feeling that such would have to be the case. Hurstwood
felt the crisis, and artfully decided to appeal to Carrie. He
had long since realised how good-natured she was, how much she
would stand. There was some little shame in him at the thought
of doing so, but he justified himself with the thought that he
really would get something. Rent day gave him his opportunity.

"Well," he said, as he counted it out, "that's about the last of
my money. I'll have to get something pretty soon."

Carrie looked at him askance, half-suspicious of an appeal.

"If I could only hold out a little longer I think I could get
something. Drake is sure to open a hotel here in September."

"Is he?" said Carrie, thinking of the short month that still
remained until that time.

"Would you mind helping me out until then?" he said appealingly.
"I think I'll be all right after that time."

"No," said Carrie, feeling sadly handicapped by fate.

"We can get along if we economise. I'll pay you back all right."

"Oh, I'll help you," said Carrie, feeling quite hardhearted at
thus forcing him to humbly appeal, and yet her desire for the
benefit of her earnings wrung a faint protest from her.

"Why don't you take anything, George, temporarily?" she said.
"What difference does it make? Maybe, after a while, you'll get
something better."

"I will take anything," he said, relieved, and wincing under
reproof. "I'd just as leave dig on the streets. Nobody knows me

"Oh, you needn't do that," said Carrie, hurt by the pity of it.
"But there must be other things."

"I'll get something!" he said, assuming determination.

Then he went back to his paper.

Chapter XXXIX


What Hurstwood got as the result of this determination was more
self-assurance that each particular day was not the day. At the
same time, Carrie passed through thirty days of mental distress.

Her need of clothes--to say nothing of her desire for ornaments--
grew rapidly as the fact developed that for all her work she was
not to have them. The sympathy she felt for Hurstwood, at the
time he asked her to tide him over, vanished with these newer
urgings of decency. He was not always renewing his request, but
this love of good appearance was. It insisted, and Carrie wished
to satisfy it, wished more and more that Hurstwood was not in the

Hurstwood reasoned, when he neared the last ten dollars, that he
had better keep a little pocket change and not become wholly
dependent for car-fare, shaves, and the like; so when this sum
was still in his hand he announced himself as penniless.

"I'm clear out," he said to Carrie one afternoon. "I paid for
some coal this morning, and that took all but ten or fifteen

"I've got some money there in my purse."

Hurstwood went to get it, starting for a can of tomatoes. Carrie
scarcely noticed that this was the beginning of the new order.
He took out fifteen cents and bought the can with it. Thereafter
it was dribs and drabs of this sort, until one morning Carrie
suddenly remembered that she would not be back until close to
dinner time.

"We're all out of flour," she said; "you'd better get some this
afternoon. We haven't any meat, either. How would it do if we
had liver and bacon?"

"Suits me," said Hurstwood.

"Better get a half or three-quarters of a pound of that."

"Half 'll be enough," volunteered Hurstwood.

She opened her purse and laid down a half dollar. He pretended
not to notice it.

Hurstwood bought the flour--which all grocers sold in 3 1/2-pound
packages--for thirteen cents and paid fifteen cents for a half-
pound of liver and bacon. He left the packages, together with
the balance of twenty-two cents, upon the kitchen table, where
Carrie found it. It did not escape her that the change was
accurate. There was something sad in realising that, after all,
all that he wanted of her was something to eat. She felt as if
hard thoughts were unjust. Maybe he would get something yet. He
had no vices.

That very evening, however, on going into the theatre, one of the
chorus girls passed her all newly arrayed in a pretty mottled
tweed suit, which took Carrie's eye. The young woman wore a fine
bunch of violets and seemed in high spirits. She smiled at
Carrie good-naturedly as she passed, showing pretty, even teeth,
and Carrie smiled back.

"She can afford to dress well," thought Carrie, "and so could I,
if I could only keep my money. I haven't a decent tie of any
kind to wear."

She put out her foot and looked at her shoe reflectively.
"I'll get a pair of shoes Saturday, anyhow; I don't care what

One of the sweetest and most sympathetic little chorus girls in
the company made friends with her because in Carrie she found
nothing to frighten her away. She was a gay little Manon,
unwitting of society's fierce conception of morality, but,
nevertheless, good to her neighbour and charitable. Little
license was allowed the chorus in the matter of conversation,
but, nevertheless, some was indulged in.

"It's warm to-night, isn't it?" said this girl, arrayed in pink
fleshings and an imitation golden helmet. She also carried a
shining shield.

"Yes; it is," said Carrie, pleased that some one should talk to

"I'm almost roasting," said the girl.

Carrie looked into her pretty face, with its large blue eyes, and
saw little beads of moisture.

"There's more marching in this opera than ever I did before,"
added the girl.

"Have you been in others?" asked Carrie, surprised at her

"Lots of them," said the girl; "haven't you?"

"This is my first experience."

"Oh, is it? I thought I saw you the time they ran 'The Queen's
Mate' here."

"No," said Carrie, shaking her head; "not me."

This conversation was interrupted by the blare of the orchestra
and the sputtering of the calcium lights in the wings as the line
was called to form for a new entrance. No further opportunity
for conversation occurred, but the next evening, when they were
getting ready for the stage, this girl appeared anew at her side.

"They say this show is going on the road next month."

"Is it?" said Carrie.

"Yes; do you think you'll go?"

"I don't know; I guess so, if they'll take me."

"Oh, they'll take you. I wouldn't go. They won't give you any
more, and it will cost you everything you make to live. I never
leave New York. There are too many shows going on here."

"Can you always get in another show?"

"I always have. There's one going on up at the Broadway this
month. I'm going to try and get in that if this one really

Carrie heard this with aroused intelligence. Evidently it wasn't
so very difficult to get on. Maybe she also could get a place if
this show went away.
"Do they all pay about the same?" she asked.

"Yes. Sometimes you get a little more. This show doesn't pay
very much."

"I get twelve," said Carrie.

"Do you?" said the girl. "They pay me fifteen, and you do more
work than I do. I wouldn't stand it if I were you. They're just
giving you less because they think you don't know. You ought to
be making fifteen."

"Well, I'm not," said Carrie.

"Well, you'll get more at the next place if you want it," went on
the girl, who admired Carrie very much. "You do fine, and the
manager knows it."

To say the truth, Carrie did unconsciously move about with an air
pleasing and somewhat distinctive. It was due wholly to her
natural manner and total lack of self-consciousness.

"Do you suppose I could get more up at the Broadway?"

"Of course you can," answered the girl. "You come with me when I
go. I'll do the talking."

Carrie heard this, flushing with thankfulness. She liked this
little gaslight soldier. She seemed so experienced and self-
reliant in her tinsel helmet and military accoutrements.

"My future must be assured if I can always get work this way,"
thought Carrie.

Still, in the morning, when her household duties would infringe
upon her and Hurstwood sat there, a perfect load to contemplate,
her fate seemed dismal and unrelieved. It did not take so very
much to feed them under Hurstwood's close-measured buying, and
there would possibly be enough for rent, but it left nothing
else. Carrie bought the shoes and some other things, which
complicated the rent problem very seriously. Suddenly, a week
from the fatal day, Carrie realised that they were going to run

"I don't believe," she exclaimed, looking into her purse at
breakfast, "that I'll have enough to pay the rent."

"How much have you?" inquired Hurstwood.

"Well, I've got twenty-two dollars, but there's everything to be
paid for this week yet, and if I use all I get Saturday to pay
this, there won't be any left for next week. Do you think your
hotel man will open his hotel this month?"

"I think so," returned Hurstwood. "He said he would."

After a while, Hurstwood said:

"Don't worry about it. Maybe the grocer will wait. He can do
that. We've traded there long enough to make him trust us for a
week or two."

"Do you think he will?" she asked.

"I think so."
On this account, Hurstwood, this very day, looked grocer Oeslogge
clearly in the eye as he ordered a pound of coffee, and said:

"Do you mind carrying my account until the end of every week?"

"No, no, Mr. Wheeler," said Mr. Oeslogge. "Dat iss all right."

Hurstwood, still tactful in distress, added nothing to this. It
seemed an easy thing. He looked out of the door, and then
gathered up his coffee when ready and came away. The game of a
desperate man had begun.

Rent was paid, and now came the grocer. Hurstwood managed by
paying out of his own ten and collecting from Carrie at the end
of the week. Then he delayed a day next time settling with the
grocer, and so soon had his ten back, with Oeslogge getting his
pay on this Thursday or Friday for last Saturday's bill.

This entanglement made Carrie anxious for a change of some sort.
Hurstwood did not seem to realise that she had a right to
anything. He schemed to make what she earned cover all expenses,
but seemed not to trouble over adding anything himself.

"He talks about worrying," thought Carrie. "If he worried enough
he couldn't sit there and wait for me. He'd get something to do.
No man could go seven months without finding something if he

The sight of him always around in his untidy clothes and gloomy
appearance drove Carrie to seek relief in other places. Twice a
week there were matinees, and then Hurstwood ate a cold snack,
which he prepared himself. Two other days there were rehearsals
beginning at ten in the morning and lasting usually until one.
Now, to this Carrie added a few visits to one or two chorus
girls, including the blue-eyed soldier of the golden helmet. She
did it because it was pleasant and a relief from dulness of the
home over which her husband brooded.

The blue-eyed soldier's name was Osborne--Lola Osborne. Her room
was in Nineteenth Street near Fourth Avenue, a block now given up
wholly to office buildings. Here she had a comfortable back
room, looking over a collection of back yards in which grew a
number of shade trees pleasant to see.

"Isn't your home in New York?" she asked of Lola one day.

"Yes; but I can't get along with my people. They always want me
to do what they want. Do you live here?"

"Yes," said Carrie.

"With your family?"

Carrie was ashamed to say that she was married. She had talked
so much about getting more salary and confessed to so much
anxiety about her future, that now, when the direct question of
fact was waiting, she could not tell this girl.

"With some relatives," she answered.

Miss Osborne took it for granted that, like herself, Carrie's
time was her own. She invariably asked her to stay, proposing
little outings and other things of that sort until Carrie began
neglecting her dinner hours. Hurstwood noticed it, but felt in
no position to quarrel with her. Several times she came so late
as scarcely to have an hour in which to patch up a meal and start
for the theatre.

"Do you rehearse in the afternoons?" Hurstwood once asked,
concealing almost completely the cynical protest and regret which
prompted it.

"No; I was looking around for another place," said Carrie.

As a matter of fact she was, but only in such a way as furnished
the least straw of an excuse. Miss Osborne and she had gone to
the office of the manager who was to produce the new opera at the
Broadway and returned straight to the former's room, where they
had been since three o'clock.

Carrie felt this question to be an infringement on her liberty.
She did not take into account how much liberty she was securing.
Only the latest step, the newest freedom, must not be questioned.

Hurstwood saw it all clearly enough. He was shrewd after his
kind, and yet there was enough decency in the man to stop him
from making any effectual protest. In his almost inexplicable
apathy he was content to droop supinely while Carrie drifted out
of his life, just as he was willing supinely to see opportunity
pass beyond his control. He could not help clinging and
protesting in a mild, irritating, and ineffectual way, however--a
way that simply widened the breach by slow degrees.

A further enlargement of this chasm between them came when the
manager, looking between the wings upon the brightly lighted
stage where the chorus was going through some of its glittering
evolutions, said to the master of the ballet:

"Who is that fourth girl there on the right--the one coming round
at the end now?"

"Oh," said the ballet-master, "that's Miss Madenda."

"She's good looking. Why don't you let her head that line?"

"I will," said the man.

"Just do that. She'll look better there than the woman you've

"All right. I will do that," said the master.

The next evening Carrie was called out, much as if for an error.

"You lead your company to night," said the master.

"Yes, sir," said Carrie.

"Put snap into it," he added. "We must have snap."

"Yes, sir," replied Carrie.

Astonished at this change, she thought that the heretofore leader
must be ill; but when she saw her in the line, with a distinct
expression of something unfavourable in her eye, she began to
think that perhaps it was merit.

She had a chic way of tossing her head to one side, and holding
her arms as if for action--not listlessly. In front of the line
this showed up even more effectually.

"That girl knows how to carry herself," said the manager, another
evening. He began to think that he should like to talk with her.
If he hadn't made it a rule to have nothing to do with the
members of the chorus, he would have approached her most

"Put that girl at the head of the white column," he suggested to
the man in charge of the ballet.

This white column consisted of some twenty girls, all in snow-
white flannel trimmed with silver and blue. Its leader was most
stunningly arrayed in the same colours, elaborated, however, with
epaulets and a belt of silver, with a short sword dangling at one
side. Carrie was fitted for this costume, and a few days later
appeared, proud of her new laurels. She was especially gratified
to find that her salary was now eighteen instead of twelve.

Hurstwood heard nothing about this.

"I'll not give him the rest of my money," said Carrie. "I do
enough. I am going to get me something to wear."

As a matter of fact, during this second month she had been buying
for herself as recklessly as she dared, regardless of the
consequences. There were impending more complications rent day,
and more extension of the credit system in the neighbourhood.
Now, however, she proposed to do better by herself.

Her first move was to buy a shirt waist, and in studying these
she found how little her money would buy--how much, if she could
only use all. She forgot that if she were alone she would have
to pay for a room and board, and imagined that every cent of her
eighteen could be spent for clothes and things that she liked.

At last she picked upon something, which not only used up all her
surplus above twelve, but invaded that sum. She knew she was
going too far, but her feminine love of finery prevailed. The
next day Hurstwood said:

"We owe the grocer five dollars and forty cents this week."

"Do we?" said Carrie, frowning a little.

She looked in her purse to leave it.

"I've only got eight dollars and twenty cents altogether."

"We owe the milkman sixty cents," added Hurstwood.

"Yes, and there's the coal man," said Carrie.

Hurstwood said nothing. He had seen the new things she was
buying; the way she was neglecting household duties; the
readiness with which she was slipping out afternoons and staying.
He felt that something was going to happen. All at once she

"I don't know," she said; "I can't do it all. I don't earn

This was a direct challenge. Hurstwood had to take it up. He
tried to be calm.

"I don't want you to do it all," he said. "I only want a little
help until I can get something to do."

"Oh, yes," answered Carrie. "That's always the way. It takes
more than I can earn to pay for things. I don't see what I'm
going to do.

"Well, I've tried to get something," he exclaimed. What do you
want me to do?"

"You couldn't have tried so very hard," said Carrie. "I got

"Well, I did," he said, angered almost to harsh words. "You
needn't throw up your success to me. All I asked was a little
help until I could get something. I'm not down yet. I'll come
up all right."

He tried to speak steadily, but his voice trembled a little.

Carrie's anger melted on the instant. She felt ashamed.

"Well," she said, "here's the money," and emptied it out on the
table. "I haven't got quite enough to pay it all. If they can
wait until Saturday, though, I'll have some more."

"You keep it," said Hurstwood sadly. "I only want enough to pay
the grocer."

She put it back, and proceeded to get dinner early and in good
time. Her little bravado made her feel as if she ought to make

In a little while their old thoughts returned to both.

"She's making more than she says," thought Hurstwood. "She says
she's making twelve, but that wouldn't buy all those things. I
don't care. Let her keep her money. I'll get something again
one of these days. Then she can go to the deuce."

He only said this in his anger, but it prefigured a possible
course of action and attitude well enough.

"I don't care," thought Carrie. "He ought to be told to get out
and do something. It isn't right that I should support him."

In these days Carrie was introduced to several youths, friends of
Miss Osborne, who were of the kind most aptly described as gay
and festive. They called once to get Miss Osborne for an
afternoon drive. Carrie was with her at the time.

"Come and go along," said Lola.

"No, I can't," said Carrie.

"Oh, yes, come and go. What have you got to do?"

"I have to be home by five," said Carrie.

"What for?"

"Oh, dinner."

"They'll take us to dinner," said Lola.

"Oh, no," said Carrie. "I won't go. I can't."

"Oh, do come. They're awful nice boys. We'll get you back in
time. We're only going for a drive in Central Park."
Carrie thought a while, and at last yielded.

"Now, I must be back by half-past four," she said.

The information went in one ear of Lola and out the other.

After Drouet and Hurstwood, there was the least touch of cynicism
in her attitude toward young men--especially of the gay and
frivolous sort. She felt a little older than they. Some of
their pretty compliments seemed silly. Still, she was young in
heart and body and youth appealed to her.

"Oh, we'll be right back, Miss Madenda," said one of the chaps,
bowing. "You wouldn't think we'd keep you over time, now, would

"Well, I don't know," said Carrie, smiling.

They were off for a drive--she, looking about and noticing fine
clothing, the young men voicing those silly pleasantries and weak
quips which pass for humour in coy circles. Carrie saw the great
park parade of carriages, beginning at the Fifty-ninth Street
entrance and winding past the Museum of Art to the exit at One
Hundred and Tenth Street and Seventh Avenue. Her eye was once
more taken by the show of wealth--the elaborate costumes, elegant
harnesses, spirited horses, and, above all, the beauty. Once
more the plague of poverty galled her, but now she forgot in a
measure her own troubles so far as to forget Hurstwood. He
waited until four, five, and even six. It was getting dark when
he got up out of his chair.

"I guess she isn't coming home," he said, grimly.

"That's the way," he thought. "She's getting a start now. I'm
out of it."

Carrie had really discovered her neglect, but only at a quarter
after five, and the open carriage was now far up Seventh Avenue,
near the Harlem River.

"What time is it?" she inquired. "I must be getting back."

"A quarter after five," said her companion, consulting an
elegant, open-faced watch.

"Oh, dear me!" exclaimed Carrie. Then she settled back with a
sigh. "There's no use crying over spilt milk," she said. "It's
too late."

"Of course it is," said the youth, who saw visions of a fine
dinner now, and such invigorating talk as would result in a
reunion after the show. He was greatly taken with Carrie.
"We'll drive down to Delmonico's now and have something there,
won't we, Orrin?"

"To be sure," replied Orrin, gaily.

Carrie thought of Hurstwood. Never before had she neglected
dinner without an excuse.

They drove back, and at 6.15 sat down to dine. It was the Sherry
incident over again, the remembrance of which came painfully back
to Carrie. She remembered Mrs. Vance, who had never called again
after Hurstwood's reception, and Ames.

At this figure her mind halted. It was a strong, clean vision.
He liked better books than she read, better people than she
associated with. His ideals burned in her heart.

"It's fine to be a good actress," came distinctly back.

What sort of an actress was she?

"What are you thinking about, Miss Madenda?" inquired her merry
companion. "Come, now, let's see if I can guess."

"Oh, no," said Carrie. "Don't try."

She shook it off and ate. She forgot, in part, and was merry.
When it came to the after-theatre proposition, however, she shook
her head.

"No," she said, "I can't. I have a previous engagement."

"Oh, now, Miss Madenda," pleaded the youth.

"No," said Carrie, "I can't. You've been so kind, but you'll
have to excuse me."

The youth looked exceedingly crestfallen.

"Cheer up, old man," whispered his companion. "We'll go around,
anyhow. She may change her mind."

Chapter XL


There was no after-theatre lark, however, so far as Carrie was
concerned. She made her way homeward, thinking about her
absence. Hurstwood was asleep, but roused up to look as she
passed through to her own bed.

"Is that you?" he said.

"Yes," she answered.

The next morning at breakfast she felt like apologising.

"I couldn't get home last evening," she said.

"Ah, Carrie," he answered, "what's the use saying that? I don't
care. You needn't tell me that, though."

"I couldn't," said Carrie, her colour rising. Then, seeing that
he looked as if he said "I know," she exclaimed: "Oh, all right.
I don't care."

From now on, her indifference to the flat was even greater.
There seemed no common ground on which they could talk to one
another. She let herself be asked for expenses. It became so
with him that he hated to do it. He preferred standing off the
butcher and baker. He ran up a grocery bill of sixteen dollars
with Oeslogge, laying in a supply of staple articles, so that
they would not have to buy any of those things for some time to
come. Then he changed his grocery. It was the same with the
butcher and several others. Carrie never heard anything of this
directly from him.
He asked for such as he could expect, drifting farther and
farther into a situation which could have but one ending.

In this fashion, September went by.

"Isn't Mr. Drake going to open his hotel?" Carrie asked several

"Yes. He won't do it before October, though, now."

Carrie became disgusted. "Such a man," she said to herself
frequently. More and more she visited. She put most of her
spare money in clothes, which, after all, was not an astonishing
amount. At last the opera she was with announced its departure
within four weeks. "Last two weeks of the Great Comic Opera
success ----The--------," etc., was upon all billboards and in
the newspapers, before she acted.

"I'm not going out on the road," said Miss Osborne.

Carrie went with her to apply to another manager.

"Ever had any experience?" was one of his questions.

"I'm with the company at the Casino now."

"Oh, you are?" he said.

The end of this was another engagement at twenty per week.

Carrie was delighted. She began to feel that she had a place in
the world. People recognised ability.

So changed was her state that the home atmosphere became
intolerable. It was all poverty and trouble there, or seemed to
be, because it was a load to bear. It became a place to keep
away from. Still she slept there, and did a fair amount of work,
keeping it in order. It was a sitting place for Hurstwood. He
sat and rocked, rocked and read, enveloped in the gloom of his
own fate. October went by, and November. It was the dead of
winter almost before he knew it, and there he sat.

Carrie was doing better, that he knew. Her clothes were improved
now, even fine. He saw her coming and going, sometimes picturing
to himself her rise. Little eating had thinned him somewhat. He
had no appetite. His clothes, too, were a poor man's clothes.
Talk about getting something had become even too threadbare and
ridiculous for him. So he folded his hands and waited--for what,
he could not anticipate.

At last, however, troubles became too thick. The hounding of
creditors, the indifference of Carrie, the silence of the flat,
and presence of winter, all joined to produce a climax. It was
effected by the arrival of Oeslogge, personally, when Carrie was

"I call about my bill," said Mr. Oeslogge.

Carrie was only faintly surprised.

"How much is it?" she asked.

"Sixteen dollars," he replied.

"Oh, that much?" said Carrie. "Is this right?" she asked,
turning to Hurstwood.

"Yes," he said.

"Well, I never heard anything about it."

She looked as if she thought he had been contracting some
needless expense.

"Well, we had it all right," he answered. Then he went to the
door. "I can't pay you anything on that to-day," he said,

"Well, when can you?" said the grocer.

"Not before Saturday, anyhow," said Hurstwood.

"Huh!" returned the grocer. "This is fine. I must have that. I
need the money."

Carrie was standing farther back in the room, hearing it all.
She was greatly distressed. It was so bad and commonplace.
Hurstwood was annoyed also.

"Well," he said, "there's no use talking about it now. If you'll
come in Saturday, I'll pay you something on it."

The grocery man went away.

"How are we going to pay it?" asked Carrie, astonished by the
bill. "I can't do it."

"Well, you don't have to," he said. "He can't get what he can't
get. He'll have to wait."

"I don't see how we ran up such a bill as that," said Carrie.

"Well, we ate it," said Hurstwood.

"It's funny," she replied, still doubting.

"What's the use of your standing there and talking like that,
now?" he asked. "Do you think I've had it alone? You talk as if
I'd taken something."

"Well, it's too much, anyhow," said Carrie. "I oughtn't to be
made to pay for it. I've got more than I can pay for now."

"All right," replied Hurstwood, sitting down in silence. He was
sick of the grind of this thing.

Carrie went out and there he sat, determining to do something.

There had been appearing in the papers about this time rumours
and notices of an approaching strike on the trolley lines in
Brooklyn. There was general dissatisfaction as to the hours of
labour required and the wages paid. As usual--and for some
inexplicable reason--the men chose the winter for the forcing of
the hand of their employers and the settlement of their

Hurstwood had been reading of this thing, and wondering
concerning the huge tie-up which would follow. A day or two
before this trouble with Carrie, it came. On a cold afternoon,
when everything was grey and it threatened to snow, the papers
announced that the men had been called out on all the lines.
Being so utterly idle, and his mind filled with the numerous
predictions which had been made concerning the scarcity of labour
this winter and the panicky state of the financial market,
Hurstwood read this with interest. He noted the claims of the
striking motormen and conductors, who said that they had been
wont to receive two dollars a day in times past, but that for a
year or more "trippers" had been introduced, which cut down their
chance of livelihood one-half, and increased their hours of
servitude from ten to twelve, and even fourteen. These
"trippers" were men put on during the busy and rush hours, to
take a car out for one trip. The compensation paid for such a
trip was only twenty-five cents. When the rush or busy hours
were over, they were laid off. Worst of all, no man might know
when he was going to get a car. He must come to the barns in the
morning and wait around in fair and foul weather until such time
as he was needed. Two trips were an average reward for so much
waiting--a little over three hours' work for fifty cents. The
work of waiting was not counted.

The men complained that this system was extending, and that the
time was not far off when but a few out of 7,000 employees would
have regular two-dollar-a-day work at all. They demanded that
the system be abolished, and that ten hours be considered a day's
work, barring unavoidable delays, with $2.25 pay. They demanded
immediate acceptance of these terms, which the various trolley
companies refused.

Hurstwood at first sympathised with the demands of these men--
indeed, it is a question whether he did not always sympathise
with them to the end, belie him as his actions might. Reading
nearly all the news, he was attracted first by the scare-heads
with which the trouble was noted in the "World." He read it
fully--the names of the seven companies involved, the number of

"They're foolish to strike in this sort of weather," he thought
to himself. "Let 'em win if they can, though."

The next day there was even a larger notice of it. "Brooklynites
Walk," said the "World." "Knights of Labour Tie up the Trolley
Lines Across the Bridge." "About Seven Thousand Men Out."

Hurstwood read this, formulating to himself his own idea of what
would be the outcome. He was a great believer in the strength of

"They can't win," he said, concerning the men. "They haven't any
money. The police will protect the companies. They've got to.
The public has to have its cars."

He didn't sympathise with the corporations, but strength was with
them. So was property and public utility.

"Those fellows can't win," he thought.

Among other things, he noticed a circular issued by one of the
companies, which read:



The motormen and conductors and other employees of this company
having abruptly left its service, an opportunity is now given to
all loyal men who have struck against their will to be
reinstated, providing they will make their applications by twelve
o'clock noon on Wednesday, January 16th. Such men will be given
employment (with guaranteed protection) in the order in which
such applications are received, and runs and positions assigned
them accordingly. Otherwise, they will be considered discharged,
and every vacancy will be filled by a new man as soon as his
services can be secured.
Benjamin Norton,

He also noted among the want ads. one which read:

WANTED.--50 skilled motormen, accustomed to Westinghouse system,
to run U.S. mail cars only, in the City of Brooklyn; protection

He noted particularly in each the "protection guaranteed." It
signified to him the unassailable power of the companies.

"They've got the militia on their side," he thought. "There
isn't anything those men can do."

While this was still in his mind, the incident with Oeslogge and
Carrie occurred. There had been a good deal to irritate him, but
this seemed much the worst. Never before had she accused him of
stealing--or very near that. She doubted the naturalness of so
large a bill. And he had worked so hard to make expenses seem
light. He had been "doing" butcher and baker in order not to
call on her. He had eaten very little--almost nothing.

"Damn it all!" he said. "I can get something. I'm not down

He thought that he really must do something now. It was too
cheap to sit around after such an insinuation as this. Why,
after a little, he would be standing anything.

He got up and looked out the window into the chilly street. It
came gradually into his mind, as he stood there, to go to

"Why not?" his mind said. "Any one can get work over there.
You'll get two a day."

"How about accidents?" said a voice. "You might get hurt."

"Oh, there won't be much of that," he answered. "They've called
out the police. Any one who wants to run a car will be protected
all right."

"You don't know how to run a car," rejoined the voice.

"I won't apply as a motorman," he answered. "I can ring up fares
all right."

"They'll want motormen, mostly."

"They'll take anybody; that I know."

For several hours he argued pro and con with this mental
counsellor, feeling no need to act at once in a matter so sure of

In the morning he put on his best clothes, which were poor
enough, and began stirring about, putting some bread and meat
into a page of a newspaper. Carrie watched him, interested in
this new move.

"Where are you going?" she asked.

"Over to Brooklyn," he answered. Then, seeing her still
inquisitive, he added: "I think I can get on over there."

"On the trolley lines?" said Carrie, astonished.

"Yes," he rejoined.

"Aren't you afraid?" she asked.

"What of?" he answered. "The police are protecting them."

"The paper said four men were hurt yesterday."

"Yes," he returned; "but you can't go by what the papers say.
They'll run the cars all right."

He looked rather determined now, in a desolate sort of way, and
Carrie felt very sorry. Something of the old Hurstwood was here--
the least shadow of what was once shrewd and pleasant strength.
Outside, it was cloudy and blowing a few flakes of snow.

"What a day to go over there," thought Carrie.

Now he left before she did, which was a remarkable thing, and
tramped eastward to Fourteenth Street and Sixth Avenue, where he
took the car. He had read that scores of applicants were
applying at the office of the Brooklyn City Railroad building and
were being received. He made his way there by horse-car and
ferry--a dark, silent man--to the offices in question. It was a
long way, for no cars were running, and the day was cold; but he
trudged along grimly. Once in Brooklyn, he could clearly see and
feel that a strike was on. People showed it in their manner.
Along the routes of certain tracks not a car was running. About
certain corners and nearby saloons small groups of men were
lounging. Several spring wagons passed him, equipped with plain
wooden chairs, and labelled "Flatbush" or "Prospect Park. Fare,
Ten Cents." He noticed cold and even gloomy faces. Labour was
having its little war.

When he came near the office in question, he saw a few men
standing about, and some policemen. On the far corners were
other men--whom he took to be strikers--watching. All the houses
were small and wooden, the streets poorly paved. After New York,
Brooklyn looked actually poor and hard-up.

He made his way into the heart of the small group, eyed by
policemen and the men already there. One of the officers
addressed him.

"What are you looking for?"

"I want to see if I can get a place."

"The offices are up those steps," said the bluecoat. His face
was a very neutral thing to contemplate. In his heart of hearts,
he sympathised with the strikers and hated this "scab." In his
heart of hearts, also, he felt the dignity and use of the police
force, which commanded order. Of its true social significance,
he never once dreamed. His was not the mind for that. The two
feelings blended in him--neutralised one another and him. He
would have fought for this man as determinedly as for himself,
and yet only so far as commanded. Strip him of his uniform, and
he would have soon picked his side.

Hurstwood ascended a dusty flight of steps and entered a small,
dust-coloured office, in which were a railing, a long desk, and
several clerks.

"Well, sir?" said a middle-aged man, looking up at him from the
long desk.

"Do you want to hire any men?" inquired Hurstwood.

"What are you--a motorman?"

"No; I'm not anything," said Hurstwood.

He was not at all abashed by his position. He knew these people
needed men. If one didn't take him, another would. This man
could take him or leave him, just as he chose.

"Well, we prefer experienced men, of course," said the man. He
paused, while Hurstwood smiled indifferently. Then he added:
"Still, I guess you can learn. What is your name?"

"Wheeler," said Hurstwood.

The man wrote an order on a small card. "Take that to our
barns," he said, "and give it to the foreman. He'll show you
what to do."

Hurstwood went down and out. He walked straight away in the
direction indicated, while the policemen looked after.

"There's another wants to try it," said Officer Kiely to Officer

"I have my mind he'll get his fill," returned the latter,
quietly. They had been in strikes before.

Chapter XLI


The barn at which Hurstwood applied was exceedingly short-handed,
and was being operated practically by three men as directors.
There were a lot of green hands around--queer, hungry-looking
men, who looked as if want had driven them to desperate means.
They tried to be lively and willing, but there was an air of
hang-dog diffidence about the place.

Hurstwood went back through the barns and out into a large,
enclosed lot, where were a series of tracks and loops. A half-
dozen cars were there, manned by instructors, each with a pupil
at the lever. More pupils were waiting at one of the rear doors
of the barn.

In silence Hurstwood viewed this scene, and waited. His
companions took his eye for a while, though they did not interest
him much more than the cars. They were an uncomfortable-looking
gang, however. One or two were very thin and lean. Several were
quite stout. Several others were rawboned and sallow, as if they
had been beaten upon by all sorts of rough weather.

"Did you see by the paper they are going to call out the
militia?" Hurstwood heard one of them remark.

"Oh, they'll do that," returned the other. "They always do."

"Think we're liable to have much trouble?" said another, whom
Hurstwood did not see.

"Not very."

"That Scotchman that went out on the last car," put in a voice,
"told me that they hit him in the ear with a cinder."

A small, nervous laugh accompanied this.

"One of those fellows on the Fifth Avenue line must have had a
hell of a time, according to the papers," drawled another. "They
broke his car windows and pulled him off into the street 'fore
the police could stop 'em."

"Yes; but there are more police around to-day," was added by

Hurstwood hearkened without much mental comment. These talkers
seemed scared to him. Their gabbling was feverish--things said
to quiet their own minds. He looked out into the yard and

Two of the men got around quite near him, but behind his back.
They were rather social, and he listened to what they said.

"Are you a railroad man?" said one.

"Me? No. I've always worked in a paper factory."

"I had a job in Newark until last October," returned the other,
with reciprocal feeling.

There were some words which passed too low to hear. Then the
conversation became strong again.

"I don't blame these fellers for striking," said one. "They've
got the right of it, all right, but I had to get something to

"Same here," said the other. "If I had any job in Newark I
wouldn't be over here takin' chances like these."

"It's hell these days, ain't it?" said the man. "A poor man
ain't nowhere. You could starve, by God, right in the streets,
and there ain't most no one would help you."

"Right you are," said the other. "The job I had I lost 'cause
they shut down. They run all summer and lay up a big stock, and
then shut down."

Hurstwood paid some little attention to this. Somehow, he felt a
little superior to these two--a little better off. To him these
were ignorant and commonplace, poor sheep in a driver's hand.

"Poor devils," he thought, speaking out of the thoughts and
feelings of a bygone period of success.
"Next," said one of the instructors.

"You're next," said a neighbour, touching him.

He went out and climbed on the platform. The instructor took it
for granted that no preliminaries were needed.

"You see this handle," he said, reaching up to an electric cut-
off, which was fastened to the roof. "This throws the current
off or on. If you want to reverse the car you turn it over here.
If you want to send it forward, you put it over here. If you
want to cut off the power, you keep it in the middle."

Hurstwood smiled at the simple information.

"Now, this handle here regulates your speed. To here," he said,
pointing with his finger, "gives you about four miles an hour.
This is eight. When it's full on, you make about fourteen miles
an hour."

Hurstwood watched him calmly. He had seen motormen work before.
He knew just about how they did it, and was sure he could do as
well, with a very little practice.

The instructor explained a few more details, and then said:

"Now, we'll back her up."

Hurstwood stood placidly by, while the car rolled back into the

"One thing you want to be careful about, and that is to start
easy. Give one degree time to act before you start another. The
one fault of most men is that they always want to throw her wide
open. That's bad. It's dangerous, too. Wears out the motor.
You don't want to do that."

"I see," said Hurstwood.

He waited and waited, while the man talked on.

"Now you take it," he said, finally.

The ex-manager laid hand to the lever and pushed it gently, as he
thought. It worked much easier than he imagined, however, with
the result that the car jerked quickly forward, throwing him back
against the door. He straightened up sheepishly, while the
instructor stopped the car with the brake.

"You want to be careful about that," was all he said.

Hurstwood found, however, that handling a brake and regulating
speed were not so instantly mastered as he had imagined. Once or
twice he would have ploughed through the rear fence if it had not
been for the hand and word of his companion. The latter was
rather patient with him, but he never smiled.

"You've got to get the knack of working both arms at once," he
said. "It takes a little practice."

One o'clock came while he was still on the car practising, and he
began to feel hungry. The day set in snowing, and he was cold.
He grew weary of running to and fro on the short track.

They ran the car to the end and both got off. Hurstwood went
into the barn and sought a car step, pulling out his paper-
wrapped lunch from his pocket. There was no water and the bread
was dry, but he enjoyed it. There was no ceremony about dining.
He swallowed and looked about, contemplating the dull, homely
labour of the thing. It was disagreeable--miserably
disagreeable--in all its phases. Not because it was bitter, but
because it was hard. It would be hard to any one, he thought.

After eating, he stood about as before, waiting until his turn

The intention was to give him an afternoon of practice, but the
greater part of the time was spent in waiting about.

At last evening came, and with it hunger and a debate with
himself as to how he should spend the night. It was half-past
five. He must soon eat. If he tried to go home, it would take
him two hours and a half of cold walking and riding. Besides he
had orders to report at seven the next morning, and going home
would necessitate his rising at an unholy and disagreeable hour.
He had only something like a dollar and fifteen cents of Carrie's
money, with which he had intended to pay the two weeks' coal bill
before the present idea struck him.

"They must have some place around here," he thought. "Where does
that fellow from Newark stay?"

Finally he decided to ask. There was a young fellow standing
near one of the doors in the cold, waiting a last turn. He was a
mere boy in years--twenty-one about--but with a body lank and
long, because of privation. A little good living would have made
this youth plump and swaggering.

"How do they arrange this, if a man hasn't any money?" inquired
Hurstwood, discreetly.

The fellow turned a keen, watchful face on the inquirer.

"You mean eat?" he replied.

"Yes, and sleep. I can't go back to New York to-night."

"The foreman 'll fix that if you ask him, I guess. He did me."

"That so?"

"Yes. I just told him I didn't have anything. Gee, I couldn't
go home. I live way over in Hoboken."

Hurstwood only cleared his throat by way of acknowledgment.

"They've got a place upstairs here, I understand. I don't know
what sort of a thing it is. Purty tough, I guess. He gave me a
meal ticket this noon. I know that wasn't much."

Hurstwood smiled grimly, and the boy laughed.

"It ain't no fun, is it?" he inquired, wishing vainly for a
cheery reply.

"Not much," answered Hurstwood.

"I'd tackle him now," volunteered the youth. "He may go 'way."

Hurstwood did so.

"Isn't there some place I can stay around here to-night?" he
inquired. "If I have to go back to New York, I'm afraid I won't"

"There're some cots upstairs," interrupted the man, "if you want
one of them."

"That'll do," he assented.

He meant to ask for a meal ticket, but the seemingly proper
moment never came, and he decided to pay himself that night.

"I'll ask him in the morning."

He ate in a cheap restaurant in the vicinity, and, being cold and
lonely, went straight off to seek the loft in question. The
company was not attempting to run cars after nightfall. It was
so advised by the police.

The room seemed to have been a lounging place for night workers.
There were some nine cots in the place, two or three wooden
chairs, a soap box, and a small, round-bellied stove, in which a
fire was blazing. Early as he was, another man was there before
him. The latter was sitting beside the stove warming his hands.

Hurstwood approached and held out his own toward the fire. He
was sick of the bareness and privation of all things connected
with his venture, but was steeling himself to hold out. He
fancied he could for a while.

"Cold, isn't it?" said the early guest.


A long silence.

"Not much of a place to sleep in, is it?" said the man.

"Better than nothing," replied Hurstwood.

Another silence.

"I believe I'll turn in," said the man.

Rising, he went to one of the cots and stretched himself,
removing only his shoes, and pulling the one blanket and dirty
old comforter over him in a sort of bundle. The sight disgusted
Hurstwood, but he did not dwell on it, choosing to gaze into the
stove and think of something else. Presently he decided to
retire, and picked a cot, also removing his shoes.

While he was doing so, the youth who had advised him to come here
entered, and, seeing Hurstwood, tried to be genial.

"Better'n nothin'," he observed, looking around.

Hurstwood did not take this to himself. He thought it to be an
expression of individual satisfaction, and so did not answer.
The youth imagined he was out of sorts, and set to whistling
softly. Seeing another man asleep, he quit that and lapsed into

Hurstwood made the best of a bad lot by keeping on his clothes
and pushing away the dirty covering from his head, but at last he
dozed in sheer weariness. The covering became more and more
comfortable, its character was forgotten, and he pulled it about
his neck and slept.
In the morning he was aroused out of a pleasant dream by several
men stirring about in the cold, cheerless room. He had been back
in Chicago in fancy, in his own comfortable home. Jessica had
been arranging to go somewhere, and he had been talking with her
about it. This was so clear in his mind, that he was startled
now by the contrast of this room. He raised his head, and the
cold, bitter reality jarred him into wakefulness.

"Guess I'd better get up," he said.

There was no water on this floor. He put on his shoes in the
cold and stood up, shaking himself in his stiffness. His clothes
felt disagreeable, his hair bad.

"Hell!" he muttered, as he put on his hat.

Downstairs things were stirring again.

He found a hydrant, with a trough which had once been used for
horses, but there was no towel here, and his handkerchief was
soiled from yesterday. He contented himself with wetting his
eyes with the ice-cold water. Then he sought the foreman, who
was already on the ground.

"Had your breakfast yet?" inquired that worthy.

"No," said Hurstwood.

"Better get it, then; your car won't be ready for a little

Hurstwood hesitated.

"Could you let me have a meal ticket?" he asked with an effort.

"Here you are," said the man, handing him one.

He breakfasted as poorly as the night before on some fried steak
and bad coffee. Then he went back.

"Here," said the foreman, motioning him, when he came in. "You
take this car out in a few minutes."

Hurstwood climbed up on the platform in the gloomy barn and
waited for a signal. He was nervous, and yet the thing was a
relief. Anything was better than the barn.

On this the fourth day of the strike, the situation had taken a
turn for the worse. The strikers, following the counsel of their
leaders and the newspapers, had struggled peaceably enough.
There had been no great violence done. Cars had been stopped, it
is true, and the men argued with. Some crews had been won over
and led away, some windows broken, some jeering and yelling done;
but in no more than five or six instances had men been seriously
injured. These by crowds whose acts the leaders disclaimed.

Idleness, however, and the sight of the company, backed by the
police, triumphing, angered the men. They saw that each day more
cars were going on, each day more declarations were being made by
the company officials that the effective opposition of the
strikers was broken. This put desperate thoughts in the minds of
the men. Peaceful methods meant, they saw, that the companies
would soon run all their cars and those who had complained would
be forgotten. There was nothing so helpful to the companies as
peaceful methods.
All at once they blazed forth, and for a week there was storm and
stress. Cars were assailed, men attacked, policemen struggled
with, tracks torn up, and shots fired, until at last street
fights and mob movements became frequent, and the city was
invested with militia.

Hurstwood knew nothing of the change of temper.

"Run your car out," called the foreman, waving a vigorous hand at
him. A green conductor jumped up behind and rang the bell twice
as a signal to start. Hurstwood turned the lever and ran the car
out through the door into the street in front of the barn. Here
two brawny policemen got up beside him on the platform--one on
either hand.

At the sound of a gong near the barn door, two bells were given
by the conductor and Hurstwood opened his lever.

The two policemen looked about them calmly.

"'Tis cold, all right, this morning," said the one on the left,
who possessed a rich brogue.

"I had enough of it yesterday," said the other. "I wouldn't want
a steady job of this."

"Nor I."

Neither paid the slightest attention to Hurstwood, who stood
facing the cold wind, which was chilling him completely, and
thinking of his orders.

"Keep a steady gait," the foreman had said. "Don't stop for any
one who doesn't look like a real passenger. Whatever you do,
don't stop for a crowd."

The two officers kept silent for a few moments.

"The last man must have gone through all right," said the officer
on the left. "I don't see his car anywhere."

"Who's on there?" asked the second officer, referring, of course,
to its complement of policemen.

"Schaeffer and Ryan."

There was another silence, in which the car ran smoothly along.
There were not so many houses along this part of the way.
Hurstwood did not see many people either. The situation was not
wholly disagreeable to him. If he were not so cold, he thought
he would do well enough.

He was brought out of this feeling by the sudden appearance of a
curve ahead, which he had not expected. He shut off the current
and did an energetic turn at the brake, but not in time to avoid
an unnaturally quick turn. It shook him up and made him feel
like making some apologetic remarks, but he refrained.

"You want to look out for them things," said the officer on the
left, condescendingly.

"That's right," agreed Hurstwood, shamefacedly.

"There's lots of them on this line," said the officer on the
Around the corner a more populated way appeared. One or two
pedestrians were in view ahead. A boy coming out of a gate with
a tin milk bucket gave Hurstwood his first objectionable

"Scab!" he yelled. "Scab!"

Hurstwood heard it, but tried to make no comment, even to
himself. He knew he would get that, and much more of the same
sort, probably.

At a corner farther up a man stood by the track and signalled the
car to stop.

"Never mind him," said one of the officers. "He's up to some

Hurstwood obeyed. At the corner he saw the wisdom of it. No
sooner did the man perceive the intention to ignore him, than he
shook his fist.

"Ah, you bloody coward!" he yelled.

Some half dozen men, standing on the corner, flung taunts and
jeers after the speeding car.

Hurstwood winced the least bit. The real thing was slightly
worse than the thoughts of it had been.

Now came in sight, three or four blocks farther on, a heap of
something on the track.

"They've been at work, here, all right," said one of the

"We'll have an argument, maybe," said the other.

Hurstwood ran the car close and stopped. He had not done so
wholly, however, before a crowd gathered about. It was composed
of ex-motormen and conductors in part, with a sprinkling of
friends and sympathisers.

"Come off the car, pardner," said one of the men in a voice meant
to be conciliatory. "You don't want to take the bread out of
another man's mouth, do you?"

Hurstwood held to his brake and lever, pale and very uncertain
what to do.

"Stand back," yelled one of the officers, leaning over the
platform railing. "Clear out of this, now. Give the man a
chance to do his work."

"Listen, pardner," said the leader, ignoring the policeman and
addressing Hurstwood. "We're all working men, like yourself. If
you were a regular motorman, and had been treated as we've been,
you wouldn't want any one to come in and take your place, would
you? You wouldn't want any one to do you out of your chance to
get your rights, would you?"

"Shut her off! shut her off!" urged the other of the policemen,
roughly. "Get out of this, now," and he jumped the railing and
landed before the crowd and began shoving. Instantly the other
officer was down beside him.

"Stand back, now," they yelled. "Get out of this. What the hell
do you mean? Out, now."

It was like a small swarm of bees.

"Don't shove me," said one of the strikers, determinedly. "I'm
not doing anything."

"Get out of this!" cried the officer, swinging his club. "I'll
give ye a bat on the sconce. Back, now."

"What the hell!" cried another of the strikers, pushing the other
way, adding at the same time some lusty oaths.

Crack came an officer's club on his forehead. He blinked his
eyes blindly a few times, wabbled on his legs, threw up his
hands, and staggered back. In return, a swift fist landed on the
officer's neck.

Infuriated by this, the latter plunged left and right, laying
about madly with his club. He was ably assisted by his brother
of the blue, who poured ponderous oaths upon the troubled waters.
No severe damage was done, owing to the agility of the strikers
in keeping out of reach. They stood about the sidewalk now and

"Where is the conductor?" yelled one of the officers, getting his
eye on that individual, who had come nervously forward to stand
by Hurstwood. The latter had stood gazing upon the scene with
more astonishment than fear.

"Why don't you come down here and get these stones off the
track?" inquired the officer. "What you standing there for? Do
you want to stay here all day? Get down."

Hurstwood breathed heavily in excitement and jumped down with the
nervous conductor as if he had been called.

"Hurry up, now," said the other policeman.

Cold as it was, these officers were hot and mad. Hurstwood
worked with the conductor, lifting stone after stone and warming
himself by the work.

"Ah, you scab, you!" yelled the crowd. "You coward! Steal a
man's job, will you? Rob the poor, will you, you thief? We'll get
you yet, now. Wait."

Not all of this was delivered by one man. It came from here and
there, incorporated with much more of the same sort and curses.

"Work, you blackguards," yelled a voice. "Do the dirty work.
You're the suckers that keep the poor people down!"

"May God starve ye yet," yelled an old Irish woman, who now threw
open a nearby window and stuck out her head.

"Yes, and you," she added, catching the eye of one of the
policemen. "You bloody, murtherin' thafe! Crack my son over the
head, will you, you hardhearted, murtherin' divil? Ah, ye----"

But the officer turned a deaf ear.

"Go to the devil, you old hag," he half muttered as he stared
round upon the scattered company.

Now the stones were off, and Hurstwood took his place again amid
a continued chorus of epithets. Both officers got up beside him
and the conductor rang the bell, when, bang! bang! through window
and door came rocks and stones. One narrowly grazed Hurstwood's
head. Another shattered the window behind.

"Throw open your lever," yelled one of the officers, grabbing at
the handle himself.

Hurstwood complied and the car shot away, followed by a rattle of
stones and a rain of curses.

"That --- --- --- ---- hit me in the neck," said one of the
officers. "I gave him a good crack for it, though."

"I think I must have left spots on some of them," said the other.

"I know that big guy that called us a --- --- --- ----" said the
first. "I'll get him yet for that."

"I thought we were in for it sure, once there," said the second.

Hurstwood, warmed and excited, gazed steadily ahead. It was an
astonishing experience for him. He had read of these things, but
the reality seemed something altogether new. He was no coward in
spirit. The fact that he had suffered this much now rather
operated to arouse a stolid determination to stick it out. He
did not recur in thought to New York or the flat. This one trip
seemed a consuming thing.

They now ran into the business heart of Brooklyn uninterrupted.
People gazed at the broken windows of the car and at Hurstwood in
his plain clothes. Voices called "scab" now and then, as well as
other epithets, but no crowd attacked the car. At the downtown
end of the line, one of the officers went to call up his station
and report the trouble.

"There's a gang out there," he said, "laying for us yet. Better
send some one over there and clean them out."

The car ran back more quietly--hooted, watched, flung at, but not
attacked. Hurstwood breathed freely when he saw the barns.

"Well," he observed to himself, "I came out of that all right."

The car was turned in and he was allowed to loaf a while, but
later he was again called. This time a new team of officers was
aboard. Slightly more confident, he sped the car along the
commonplace streets and felt somewhat less fearful. On one side,
however, he suffered intensely. The day was raw, with a
sprinkling of snow and a gusty wind, made all the more
intolerable by the speed of the car. His clothing was not
intended for this sort of work. He shivered, stamped his feet,
and beat his arms as he had seen other motormen do in the past,
but said nothing. The novelty and danger of the situation
modified in a way his disgust and distress at being compelled to
be here, but not enough to prevent him from feeling grim and
sour. This was a dog's life, he thought. It was a tough thing
to have to come to.

The one thought that strengthened him was the insult offered by
Carrie. He was not down so low as to take all that, he thought.
He could do something--this, even--for a while. It would get
better. He would save a little.

A boy threw a clod of mud while he was thus reflecting and hit
him upon the arm. It hurt sharply and angered him more than he
had been any time since morning.

"The little cur!" he muttered.

"Hurt you?" asked one of the policemen.

"No," he answered.

At one of the corners, where the car slowed up because of a turn,
an ex-motorman, standing on the sidewalk, called to him:

"Won't you come out, pardner, and be a man? Remember we're
fighting for decent day's wages, that's all. We've got families
to support." The man seemed most peaceably inclined.

Hurstwood pretended not to see him. He kept his eyes straight on
before and opened the lever wide. The voice had something
appealing in it.

All morning this went on and long into the afternoon. He made
three such trips. The dinner he had was no stay for such work
and the cold was telling on him. At each end of the line he
stopped to thaw out, but he could have groaned at the anguish of
it. One of the barnmen, out of pity, loaned him a heavy cap and
a pair of sheepskin gloves, and for once he was extremely

On the second trip of the afternoon he ran into a crowd about
half way along the line, that had blocked the car's progress with
an old telegraph pole.

"Get that thing off the track," shouted the two policemen.

"Yah, yah, yah!" yelled the crowd. "Get it off yourself."

The two policemen got down and Hurstwood started to follow.

"You stay there," one called. "Some one will run away with your

Amid the babel of voices, Hurstwood heard one close beside him.

"Come down, pardner, and be a man. Don't fight the poor. Leave
that to the corporations."

He saw the same fellow who had called to him from the corner.
Now, as before, he pretended not to hear him.

"Come down," the man repeated gently. "You don't want to fight
poor men. Don't fight at all." It was a most philosophic and
jesuitical motorman.

A third policeman joined the other two from somewhere and some
one ran to telephone for more officers. Hurstwood gazed about,
determined but fearful.

A man grabbed him by the coat.

"Come off of that," he exclaimed, jerking at him and trying to
pull him over the railing.

"Let go," said Hurstwood, savagely.

"I'll show you--you scab!" cried a young Irishman, jumping up on
the car and aiming a blow at Hurstwood. The latter ducked and
caught it on the shoulder instead of the jaw.

"Away from here," shouted an officer, hastening to the rescue,
and adding, of course, the usual oaths.

Hurstwood recovered himself, pale and trembling. It was becoming
serious with him now. People were looking up and jeering at him.
One girl was making faces.

He began to waver in his resolution, when a patrol wagon rolled
up and more officers dismounted. Now the track was quickly
cleared and the release effected.

"Let her go now, quick," said the officer, and again he was off.

The end came with a real mob, which met the car on its return
trip a mile or two from the barns. It was an exceedingly poor-
looking neighbourhood. He wanted to run fast through it, but
again the track was blocked. He saw men carrying something out
to it when he was yet a half-dozen blocks away.

"There they are again!" exclaimed one policeman.

"I'll give them something this time," said the second officer,
whose patience was becoming worn. Hurstwood suffered a qualm of
body as the car rolled up. As before, the crowd began hooting,
but now, rather than come near, they threw things. One or two
windows were smashed and Hurstwood dodged a stone.

Both policemen ran out toward the crowd, but the latter replied
by running toward the car. A woman--a mere girl in appearance--
was among these, bearing a rough stick. She was exceedingly
wrathful and struck at Hurstwood, who dodged. Thereupon, her
companions, duly encouraged, jumped on the car and pulled
Hurstwood over. He had hardly time to speak or shout before he

"Let go of me," he said, falling on his side.

"Ah, you sucker," he heard some one say. Kicks and blows rained
on him. He seemed to be suffocating. Then two men seemed to be
dragging him off and he wrestled for freedom.

"Let up," said a voice, "you're all right. Stand up."

He was let loose and recovered himself. Now he recognised two
officers. He felt as if he would faint from exhaustion.
Something was wet on his chin. He put up his hand and felt, then
looked. It was red.

"They cut me," he said, foolishly, fishing for his handkerchief.

"Now, now," said one of the officers. "It's only a scratch."

His senses became cleared now and he looked around. He was
standing in a little store, where they left him for the moment.
Outside, he could see, as he stood wiping his chin, the car and
the excited crowd. A patrol wagon was there, and another.

He walked over and looked out. It was an ambulance, backing in.

He saw some energetic charging by the police and arrests being

"Come on, now, if you want to take your car," said an officer,
opening the door and looking in.
He walked out, feeling rather uncertain of himself. He was very
cold and frightened.

"Where's the conductor?" he asked.

"Oh, he's not here now," said the policeman.

Hurstwood went toward the car and stepped nervously on. As he
did so there was a pistol shot. Something stung his shoulder.

"Who fired that?" he heard an officer exclaim. "By God! who did
that?" Both left him, running toward a certain building. He
paused a moment and then got down.

"George!" exclaimed Hurstwood, weakly, "this is too much for me."

He walked nervously to the corner and hurried down a side street.

"Whew!" he said, drawing in his breath.

A half block away, a small girl gazed at him.

"You'd better sneak," she called.

He walked homeward in a blinding snowstorm, reaching the ferry by
dusk. The cabins were filled with comfortable souls, who studied
him curiously. His head was still in such a whirl that he felt
confused. All the wonder of the twinkling lights of the river in
a white storm passed for nothing. He trudged doggedly on until
he reached the flat. There he entered and found the room warm.
Carrie was gone. A couple of evening papers were lying on the
table where she left them. He lit the gas and sat down. Then he
got up and stripped to examine his shoulder. It was a mere
scratch. He washed his hands and face, still in a brown study,
apparently, and combed his hair. Then he looked for something to
eat, and finally, his hunger gone, sat down in his comfortable
rocking-chair. It was a wonderful relief.

He put his hand to his chin, forgetting, for the moment, the

"Well," he said, after a time, his nature recovering itself,
"that's a pretty tough game over there."

Then he turned and saw the papers. With half a sigh he picked up
the "World."

"Strike Spreading in Brooklyn," he read. "Rioting Breaks Out in

Book of the day: