Sister Carrie, by Theodore Dreiser
Part 10 out of 11
all Parts of the City."
He adjusted his paper very comfortably and continued. It was the
one thing he read with absorbing interest.
A TOUCH OF SPRING--THE EMPTY SHELL
Those who look upon Hurstwood's Brooklyn venture as an error of
judgment will none the less realise the negative influence on him
of the fact that he had tried and failed. Carrie got a wrong
idea of it. He said so little that she imagined he had
encountered nothing worse than the ordinary roughness--quitting
so soon in the face of this seemed trifling. He did not want to
She was now one of a group of oriental beauties who, in the
second act of the comic opera, were paraded by the vizier before
the new potentate as the treasures of his harem. There was no
word assigned to any of them, but on the evening when Hurstwood
was housing himself in the loft of the street-car barn, the
leading comedian and star, feeling exceedingly facetious, said in
a profound voice, which created a ripple of laughter:
"Well, who are you?"
It merely happened to be Carrie who was courtesying before him.
It might as well have been any of the others, so far as he was
concerned. He expected no answer and a dull one would have been
reproved. But Carrie, whose experience and belief in herself
gave her daring, courtesied sweetly again and answered:
"I am yours truly."
It was a trivial thing to say, and yet something in the way she
did it caught the audience, which laughed heartily at the mock-
fierce potentate towering before the young woman. The comedian
also liked it, hearing the laughter.
"I thought your name was Smith," he returned, endeavouring to get
the last laugh.
Carrie almost trembled for her daring after she had said this.
All members of the company had been warned that to interpolate
lines or "business" meant a fine or worse. She did not know what
As she was standing in her proper position in the wings, awaiting
another entry, the great comedian made his exit past her and
paused in recognition.
"You can just leave that in hereafter," he remarked, seeing how
intelligent she appeared. "Don't add any more, though."
"Thank you," said Carrie, humbly. When he went on she found
herself trembling violently.
"Well, you're in luck," remarked another member of the chorus.
"There isn't another one of us has got a line."
There was no gainsaying the value of this. Everybody in the
company realised that she had got a start. Carrie hugged herself
when next evening the lines got the same applause. She went home
rejoicing, knowing that soon something must come of it. It was
Hurstwood who, by his presence, caused her merry thoughts to flee
and replaced them with sharp longings for an end of distress.
The next day she asked him about his venture.
"They're not trying to run any cars except with police. They
don't want anybody just now--not before next week."
Next week came, but Carrie saw no change. Hurstwood seemed more
apathetic than ever. He saw her off mornings to rehearsals and
the like with the utmost calm. He read and read. Several times
he found himself staring at an item, but thinking of something
else. The first of these lapses that he sharply noticed
concerned a hilarious party he had once attended at a driving
club, of which he had been a member. He sat, gazing downward,
and gradually thought he heard the old voices and the clink of
"You're a dandy, Hurstwood," his friend Walker said. He was
standing again well dressed, smiling, good-natured, the recipient
of encores for a good story.
All at once he looked up. The room was so still it seemed
ghostlike. He heard the clock ticking audibly and half suspected
that he had been dozing. The paper was so straight in his hands,
however, and the items he had been reading so directly before
him, that he rid himself of the doze idea. Still, it seemed
peculiar. When it occurred a second time, however, it did not
seem quite so strange.
Butcher and grocery man, baker and coal man--not the group with
whom he was then dealing, but those who had trusted him to the
limit--called. He met them all blandly, becoming deft in excuse.
At last he became bold, pretended to be out, or waved them off.
"They can't get blood out of a turnip," he said. "if I had it
I'd pay them."
Carrie's little soldier friend, Miss Osborne, seeing her
succeeding, had become a sort of satellite. Little Osborne could
never of herself amount to anything. She seemed to realise it in
a sort of pussy-like way and instinctively concluded to cling
with her soft little claws to Carrie.
"Oh, you'll get up," she kept telling Carrie with admiration.
"You're so good."
Timid as Carrie was, she was strong in capability. The reliance
of others made her feel as if she must, and when she must she
dared. Experience of the world and of necessity was in her
favour. No longer the lightest word of a man made her head
dizzy. She had learned that men could change and fail. Flattery
in its most palpable form had lost its force with her. It
required superiority--kindly superiority--to move her--the
superiority of a genius like Ames.
"I don't like the actors in our company," she told Lola one day.
"They're all so struck on themselves."
"Don't you think Mr. Barclay's pretty nice?" inquired Lola, who
had received a condescending smile or two from that quarter.
"Oh, he's nice enough," answered Carrie; "but he isn't sincere.
He assumes such an air."
Lola felt for her first hold upon Carrie in the following manner:
"Are you paying room-rent where you are?"
"Certainly," answered Carrie. "Why?"
"I know where I could get the loveliest room and bath, cheap.
It's too big for me, but it would be just right for two, and the
rent is only six dollars a week for both."
"Where?" said Carrie.
"In Seventeenth Street."
"Well, I don't know as I'd care to change," said Carrie, who was
already turning over the three-dollar rate in her mind. She was
thinking if she had only herself to support this would leave her
seventeen for herself.
Nothing came of this until after the Brooklyn adventure of
Hurstwood's and her success with the speaking part. Then she
began to feel as if she must be free. She thought of leaving
Hurstwood and thus making him act for himself, but he had
developed such peculiar traits she feared he might resist any
effort to throw him off. He might hunt her out at the show and
hound her in that way. She did not wholly believe that he would,
but he might. This, she knew, would be an embarrassing thing if
he made himself conspicuous in any way. It troubled her greatly.
Things were precipitated by the offer of a better part. One of
the actresses playing the part of a modest sweetheart gave notice
of leaving and Carrie was selected.
"How much are you going to get?" asked Miss Osborne, on hearing
the good news.
"I didn't ask him," said Carrie.
"Well, find out. Goodness, you'll never get anything if you
don't ask. Tell them you must have forty dollars, anyhow."
"Oh, no," said Carrie.
"Certainly!" exclaimed Lola. "Ask 'em, anyway."
Carrie succumbed to this prompting, waiting, however, until the
manager gave her notice of what clothing she must have to fit the
"How much do I get?" she inquired.
"Thirty-five dollars," he replied.
Carrie was too much astonished and delighted to think of
mentioning forty. She was nearly beside herself, and almost
hugged Lola, who clung to her at the news.
"It isn't as much as you ought to get," said the latter,
"especially when you've got to buy clothes."
Carrie remembered this with a start. Where to get the money? She
had none laid up for such an emergency. Rent day was drawing
"I'll not do it," she said, remembering her necessity. "I don't
use the flat. I'm not going to give up my money this time. I'll
Fitting into this came another appeal from Miss Osborne, more
urgent than ever.
"Come live with me, won't you?" she pleaded. "We can have the
loveliest room. It won't cost you hardly anything that way."
"I'd like to," said Carrie, frankly.
"Oh, do," said Lola. "We'll have such a good time."
Carrie thought a while.
"I believe I will," she said, and then added: "I'll have to see
With the idea thus grounded, rent day approaching, and clothes
calling for instant purchase, she soon found excuse in
Hurstwood's lassitude. He said less and drooped more than ever.
As rent day approached, an idea grew in him. It was fostered by
the demands of creditors and the impossibility of holding up many
more. Twenty-eight dollars was too much for rent. "It's hard on
her," he thought. "We could get a cheaper place."
Stirred with this idea, he spoke at the breakfast table.
"Don't you think we pay too much rent here?" he asked.
"Indeed I do," said Carrie, not catching his drift.
"I should think we could get a smaller place," he suggested. "We
don't need four rooms."
Her countenance, had he been scrutinising her, would have
exhibited the disturbance she felt at this evidence of his
determination to stay by her. He saw nothing remarkable in
asking her to come down lower.
"Oh, I don't know," she answered, growing wary.
"There must be places around here where we could get a couple of
rooms, which would do just as well."
Her heart revolted. "Never!" she thought. Who would furnish the
money to move? To think of being in two rooms with him! She
resolved to spend her money for clothes quickly, before something
terrible happened. That very day she did it. Having done so,
there was but one other thing to do.
"Lola," she said, visiting her friend, "I think I'll come."
"Oh, jolly!" cried the latter.
"Can we get it right away?" she asked, meaning the room.
"Certainly," cried Lola.
They went to look at it. Carrie had saved ten dollars from her
expenditures--enough for this and her board beside. Her enlarged
salary would not begin for ten days yet--would not reach her for
seventeen. She paid half of the six dollars with her friend.
"Now, I've just enough to get on to the end of the week," she
"Oh, I've got some," said Lola. "I've got twenty-five dollars,
if you need it."
"No," said Carrie. "I guess I'll get along."
They decided to move Friday, which was two days away. Now that
the thing was settled, Carrie's heart misgave her. She felt very
much like a criminal in the matter. Each day looking at
Hurstwood, she had realised that, along with the disagreeableness
of his attitude, there was something pathetic.
She looked at him the same evening she had made up her mind to
go, and now he seemed not so shiftless and worthless, but run
down and beaten upon by chance. His eyes were not keen, his face
marked, his hands flabby. She thought his hair had a touch of
grey. All unconscious of his doom, he rocked and read his paper,
while she glanced at him.
Knowing that the end was so near, she became rather solicitous.
"Will you go over and get some canned peaches?" she asked
Hurstwood, laying down a two-dollar bill.
"Certainly," he said, looking in wonder at the money.
"See if you can get some nice asparagus," she added. "I'll cook
it for dinner."
Hurstwood rose and took the money, slipping on his overcoat and
getting his hat. Carrie noticed that both of these articles of
apparel were old and poor looking in appearance. It was plain
enough before, but now it came home with peculiar force. Perhaps
he couldn't help it, after all. He had done well in Chicago.
She remembered his fine appearance the days he had met her in the
park. Then he was so sprightly, so clean. Had it been all his
He came back and laid the change down with the food.
"You'd better keep it," she observed. "We'll need other things."
"No," he said, with a sort of pride; "you keep it."
"Oh, go on and keep it," she replied, rather unnerved. "There'll
be other things."
He wondered at this, not knowing the pathetic figure he had
become in her eyes. She restrained herself with difficulty from
showing a quaver in her voice.
To say truly, this would have been Carrie's attitude in any case.
She had looked back at times upon her parting from Drouet and had
regretted that she had served him so badly. She hoped she would
never meet him again, but she was ashamed of her conduct. Not
that she had any choice in the final separation. She had gone
willingly to seek him, with sympathy in her heart, when Hurstwood
had reported him ill. There was something cruel somewhere, and
not being able to track it mentally to its logical lair, she
concluded with feeling that he would never understand what
Hurstwood had done and would see hard-hearted decision in her
deed; hence her shame. Not that she cared for him. She did not
want to make any one who had been good to her feel badly.
She did not realise what she was doing by allowing these feelings
to possess her. Hurstwood, noticing the kindness, conceived
better of her. "Carrie's good-natured, anyhow," he thought.
Going to Miss Osborne's that afternoon, she found that little
lady packing and singing.
"Why don't you come over with me today?" she asked.
"Oh, I can't," said Carrie. "I'll be there Friday. Would you
mind lending me the twenty-five dollars you spoke of?"
"Why, no," said Lola, going for her purse.
"I want to get some other things," said Carrie.
"Oh, that's all right," answered the little girl, good-naturedly,
glad to be of service.
It had been days since Hurstwood had done more than go to the
grocery or to the news-stand. Now the weariness of indoors was
upon him--had been for two days--but chill, grey weather had held
him back. Friday broke fair and warm. It was one of those
lovely harbingers of spring, given as a sign in dreary winter
that earth is not forsaken of warmth and beauty. The blue
heaven, holding its one golden orb, poured down a crystal wash of
warm light. It was plain, from the voice of the sparrows, that
all was halcyon outside. Carrie raised the front windows, and
felt the south wind blowing.
"It's lovely out to-day," she remarked.
"Is it?" said Hurstwood.
After breakfast, he immediately got his other clothes.
"Will you be back for lunch?" asked Carrie nervously.
"No," he said.
He went out into the streets and tramped north, along Seventh
Avenue, idly fixing upon the Harlem River as an objective point.
He had seen some ships up there, the time he had called upon the
brewers. He wondered how the territory thereabouts was growing.
Passing Fifty-ninth Street, he took the west side of Central
Park, which he followed to Seventy-eighth Street. Then he
remembered the neighbourhood and turned over to look at the mass
of buildings erected. It was very much improved. The great open
spaces were filling up. Coming back, he kept to the Park until
110th Street, and then turned into Seventh Avenue again, reaching
the pretty river by one o'clock.
There it ran winding before his gaze, shining brightly in the
clear light, between the undulating banks on the right and the
tall, tree-covered heights on the left. The spring-like
atmosphere woke him to a sense of its loveliness, and for a few
moments he stood looking at it, folding his hands behind his
back. Then he turned and followed it toward the east side, idly
seeking the ships he had seen. It was four o'clock before the
waning day, with its suggestion of a cooler evening, caused him
to return. He was hungry and would enjoy eating in the warm
When he reached the flat by half-past five, it was still dark.
He knew that Carrie was not there, not only because there was no
light showing through the transom, but because the evening papers
were stuck between the outside knob and the door. He opened with
his key and went in. Everything was still dark. Lighting the
gas, he sat down, preparing to wait a little while. Even if
Carrie did come now, dinner would be late. He read until six,
then got up to fix something for himself.
As he did so, he noticed that the room seemed a little queer.
What was it? He looked around, as if he missed something, and
then saw an envelope near where he had been sitting. It spoke
for itself, almost without further action on his part.
Reaching over, he took it, a sort of chill settling upon him even
while he reached. The crackle of the envelope in his hands was
loud. Green paper money lay soft within the note.
"Dear George," he read, crunching the money in one hand, "I'm
going away. I'm not coming back any more. It's no use trying to
keep up the flat; I can't do it. I wouldn't mind helping you, if
I could, but I can't support us both, and pay the rent. I need
what little I make to pay for my clothes. I'm leaving twenty
dollars. It's all I have just now. You can do whatever you like
with the furniture. I won't want it.--CARRIE.
He dropped the note and looked quietly round. Now he knew what
he missed. It was the little ornamental clock, which was hers.
It had gone from the mantelpiece. He went into the front room,
his bedroom, the parlour, lighting the gas as he went. From the
chiffonier had gone the knick-knacks of silver and plate. From
the table-top, the lace coverings. He opened the wardrobe--no
clothes of hers. He opened the drawers--nothing of hers. Her
trunk was gone from its accustomed place. Back in his own room
hung his old clothes, just as he had left them. Nothing else was
He stepped into the parlour and stood for a few moments looking
vacantly at the floor. The silence grew oppressive. The little
flat seemed wonderfully deserted. He wholly forgot that he was
hungry, that it was only dinner-time. It seemed later in the
Suddenly, he found that the money was still in his hands. There
were twenty dollars in all, as she had said. Now he walked back,
leaving the lights ablaze, and feeling as if the flat were empty.
"I'll get out of this," he said to himself.
Then the sheer loneliness of his situation rushed upon him in
"Left me!" he muttered, and repeated, "left me!"
The place that had been so comfortable, where he had spent so
many days of warmth, was now a memory. Something colder and
chillier confronted him. He sank down in his chair, resting his
chin in his hand--mere sensation, without thought, holding him.
Then something like a bereaved affection and self-pity swept over
"She needn't have gone away," he said. "I'd have got something."
He sat a long while without rocking, and added quite clearly, out
"I tried, didn't I?"
At midnight he was still rocking, staring at the floor.
THE WORLD TURNS FLATTERER--AN EYE IN THE DARK
Installed in her comfortable room, Carrie wondered how Hurstwood
had taken her departure. She arranged a few things hastily and
then left for the theatre, half expecting to encounter him at the
door. Not finding him, her dread lifted, and she felt more
kindly toward him. She quite forgot him until about to come out,
after the show, when the chance of his being there frightened
her. As day after day passed and she heard nothing at all, the
thought of being bothered by him passed. In a little while she
was, except for occasional thoughts, wholly free of the gloom
with which her life had been weighed in the flat.
It is curious to note how quickly a profession absorbs one.
Carrie became wise in theatrical lore, hearing the gossip of
little Lola. She learned what the theatrical papers were, which
ones published items about actresses and the like. She began to
read the newspaper notices, not only of the opera in which she
had so small a part, but of others. Gradually the desire for
notice took hold of her. She longed to be renowned like others,
and read with avidity all the complimentary or critical comments
made concerning others high in her profession. The showy world
in which her interest lay completely absorbed her.
It was about this time that the newspapers and magazines were
beginning to pay that illustrative attention to the beauties of
the stage which has since become fervid. The newspapers, and
particularly the Sunday newspapers, indulged in large decorative
theatrical pages, in which the faces and forms of well-known
theatrical celebrities appeared, enclosed with artistic scrolls.
The magazines also or at least one or two of the newer ones--
published occasional portraits of pretty stars, and now and again
photos of scenes from various plays. Carrie watched these with
growing interest. When would a scene from her opera appear? When
would some paper think her photo worth while?
The Sunday before taking her new part she scanned the theatrical
pages for some little notice. It would have accorded with her
expectations if nothing had been said, but there in the squibs,
tailing off several more substantial items, was a wee notice.
Carrie read it with a tingling body:
"The part of Katisha, the country maid, in 'The Wives of Abdul'
at the Broadway, heretofore played by Inez Carew, will be
hereafter filled by Carrie Madenda, one of the cleverest members
of the chorus."
Carrie hugged herself with delight. Oh, wasn't it just fine! At
last! The first, the long-hoped for, the delightful notice! And
they called her clever. She could hardly restrain herself from
laughing loudly. Had Lola seen it?
"They've got a notice here of the part I'm going to play to-
morrow night," said Carrie to her friend.
"Oh, jolly! Have they?" cried Lola, running to her. "That's all
right," she said, looking. "You'll get more now, if you do well.
I had my picture in the 'World' once."
"Did you?" asked Carrie.
"Did I? Well, I should say," returned the little girl. "They had
a frame around it."
"They've never published my picture."
"But they will," said Lola. "You'll see. You do better than
most that get theirs in now."
Carrie felt deeply grateful for this. She almost loved Lola for
the sympathy and praise she extended. It was so helpful to her--
so almost necessary.
Fulfilling her part capably brought another notice in the papers
that she was doing her work acceptably. This pleased her
immensely. She began to think the world was taking note of her.
The first week she got her thirty-five dollars, it seemed an
enormous sum. Paying only three dollars for room rent seemed
ridiculous. After giving Lola her twenty-five, she still had
seven dollars left. With four left over from previous earnings,
she had eleven. Five of this went to pay the regular installment
on the clothes she had to buy. The next week she was even in
greater feather. Now, only three dollars need be paid for room
rent and five on her clothes. The rest she had for food and her
"You'd better save a little for summer," cautioned Lola. "We'll
probably close in May."
"I intend to," said Carrie.
The regular entrance of thirty-five dollars a week to one who has
endured scant allowances for several years is a demoralising
thing. Carrie found her purse bursting with good green bills of
comfortable denominations. Having no one dependent upon her, she
began to buy pretty clothes and pleasing trinkets, to eat well,
and to ornament her room. Friends were not long in gathering
about. She met a few young men who belonged to Lola's staff.
The members of the opera company made her acquaintance without
the formality of introduction. One of these discovered a fancy
for her. On several occasions he strolled home with her.
"Let's stop in and have a rarebit," he suggested one midnight.
"Very well," said Carrie.
In the rosy restaurant, filled with the merry lovers of late
hours, she found herself criticising this man. He was too
stilted, too self-opinionated. He did not talk of anything that
lifted her above the common run of clothes and material success.
When it was all over, he smiled most graciously.
"Got to go straight home, have you?" he said.
"Yes," she answered, with an air of quiet understanding.
"She's not so inexperienced as she looks," he thought, and
thereafter his respect and ardour were increased.
She could not help sharing in Lola's love for a good time. There
were days when they went carriage riding, nights when after the
show they dined, afternoons when they strolled along Broadway,
tastefully dressed. She was getting in the metropolitan whirl of
At last her picture appeared in one of the weeklies. She had not
known of it, and it took her breath. "Miss Carrie Madenda," it
was labelled. "One of the favourites of 'The Wives of Abdul'
company." At Lola's advice she had had some pictures taken by
Sarony. They had got one there. She thought of going down and
buying a few copies of the paper, but remembered that there was
no one she knew well enough to send them to. Only Lola,
apparently, in all the world was interested.
The metropolis is a cold place socially, and Carrie soon found
that a little money brought her nothing. The world of wealth and
distinction was quite as far away as ever. She could feel that
there was no warm, sympathetic friendship back of the easy
merriment with which many approached her. All seemed to be
seeking their own amusement, regardless of the possible sad
consequence to others. So much for the lessons of Hurstwood and
In April she learned that the opera would probably last until the
middle or the end of May, according to the size of the audiences.
Next season it would go on the road. She wondered if she would
be with it. As usual, Miss Osborne, owing to her moderate
salary, was for securing a home engagement.
"They're putting on a summer play at the Casino," she announced,
after figuratively putting her ear to the ground. "Let's try and
get in that."
"I'm willing," said Carrie.
They tried in time and were apprised of the proper date to apply
again. That was May 16th. Meanwhile their own show closed May
"Those that want to go with the show next season," said the
manager, "will have to sign this week."
"Don't you sign," advised Lola. "I wouldn't go."
"I know," said Carrie, "but maybe I can't get anything else."
"Well, I won't," said the little girl, who had a resource in her
admirers. "I went once and I didn't have anything at the end of
Carrie thought this over. She had never been on the road.
"We can get along," added Lola. "I always have."
Carrie did not sign.
The manager who was putting on the summer skit at the Casino had
never heard of Carrie, but the several notices she had received,
her published picture, and the programme bearing her name had
some little weight with him. He gave her a silent part at thirty
dollars a week.
"Didn't I tell you?" said Lola. "It doesn't do you any good to
go away from New York. They forget all about you if you do."
Now, because Carrie was pretty, the gentlemen who made up the
advance illustrations of shows about to appear for the Sunday
papers selected Carrie's photo along with others to illustrate
the announcement. Because she was very pretty, they gave it
excellent space and drew scrolls about it. Carrie was delighted.
Still, the management did not seem to have seen anything of it.
At least, no more attention was paid to her than before. At the
same time there seemed very little in her part. It consisted of
standing around in all sorts of scenes, a silent little
Quakeress. The author of the skit had fancied that a great deal
could be made of such a part, given to the right actress, but
now, since it had been doled out to Carrie, he would as leave
have had it cut out.
"Don't kick, old man," remarked the manager. "If it don't go the
first week we will cut it out."
Carrie had no warning of this halcyon intention. She practised
her part ruefully, feeling that she was effectually shelved. At
the dress rehearsal she was disconsolate.
"That isn't so bad," said the author, the manager noting the
curious effect which Carrie's blues had upon the part. "Tell her
to frown a little more when Sparks dances."
Carrie did not know it, but there was the least show of wrinkles
between her eyes and her mouth was puckered quaintly.
"Frown a little more, Miss Madenda," said the stage manager.
Carrie instantly brightened up, thinking he had meant it as a
"No; frown," he said. "Frown as you did before."
Carrie looked at him in astonishment.
"I mean it," he said. "Frown hard when Mr. Sparks dances. I
want to see how it looks."
It was easy enough to do. Carrie scowled. The effect was
something so quaint and droll it caught even the manager.
"That is good," he said. "If she'll do that all through, I think
it will take."
Going over to Carrie, he said:
"Suppose you try frowning all through. Do it hard. Look mad.
It'll make the part really funny."
On the opening night it looked to Carrie as if there were nothing
to her part, after all. The happy, sweltering audience did not
seem to see her in the first act. She frowned and frowned, but
to no effect. Eyes were riveted upon the more elaborate efforts
of the stars.
In the second act, the crowd, wearied by a dull conversation,
roved with its eyes about the stage and sighted her. There she
was, grey-suited, sweet-faced, demure, but scowling. At first
the general idea was that she was temporarily irritated, that the
look was genuine and not fun at all. As she went on frowning,
looking now at one principal and now at the other, the audience
began to smile. The portly gentlemen in the front rows began to
feel that she was a delicious little morsel. It was the kind of
frown they would have loved to force away with kisses. All the
gentlemen yearned toward her. She was capital.
At last, the chief comedian, singing in the centre of the stage,
noticed a giggle where it was not expected. Then another and
another. When the place came for loud applause it was only
moderate. What could be the trouble? He realised that something
All at once, after an exit, he caught sight of Carrie. She was
frowning alone on the stage and the audience was giggling and
"By George, I won't stand that!" thought the thespian. "I'm not
going to have my work cut up by some one else. Either she quits
that when I do my turn or I quit."
"Why, that's all right," said the manager, when the kick came.
"That's what she's supposed to do. You needn't pay any attention
"But she ruins my work."
"No, she don't," returned the former, soothingly. "It's only a
little fun on the side."
"It is, eh?" exclaimed the big comedian. "She killed my hand all
right. I'm not going to stand that."
"Well, wait until after the show. Wait until to-morrow. We'll
see what we can do."
The next act, however, settled what was to be done. Carrie was
the chief feature of the play. The audience, the more it studied
her, the more it indicated its delight. Every other feature
paled beside the quaint, teasing, delightful atmosphere which
Carrie contributed while on the stage. Manager and company
realised she had made a hit.
The critics of the daily papers completed her triumph. There
were long notices in praise of the quality of the burlesque,
touched with recurrent references to Carrie. The contagious
mirth of the thing was repeatedly emphasised.
"Miss Madenda presents one of the most delightful bits of
character work ever seen on the Casino stage," observed the stage
critic of the "Sun." "It is a bit of quiet, unassuming drollery
which warms like good wine. Evidently the part was not intended
to take precedence, as Miss Madenda is not often on the stage,
but the audience, with the characteristic perversity of such
bodies, selected for itself. The little Quakeress was marked for
a favourite the moment she appeared, and thereafter easily held
attention and applause. The vagaries of fortune are indeed
The critic of the "Evening World," seeking as usual to establish
a catch phrase which should "go" with the town, wound up by
advising: "If you wish to be merry, see Carrie frown."
The result was miraculous so far as Carrie's fortune was
concerned. Even during the morning she received a congratulatory
message from the manager.
"You seem to have taken the town by storm," he wrote. "This is
delightful. I am as glad for your sake as for my own."
The author also sent word.
That evening when she entered the theatre the manager had a most
pleasant greeting for her.
"Mr. Stevens," he said, referring to the author, "is preparing a
little song, which he would like you to sing next week."
"Oh, I can't sing," returned Carrie.
"It isn't anything difficult. 'It's something that is very
simple,' he says, 'and would suit you exactly.'"
"Of course, I wouldn't mind trying," said Carrie, archly.
"Would you mind coming to the box-office a few moments before you
dress?" observed the manager, in addition. "There's a little
matter I want to speak to you about."
"Certainly," replied Carrie.
In that latter place the manager produced a paper.
"Now, of course," he said, "we want to be fair with you in the
matter of salary. Your contract here only calls for thirty
dollars a week for the next three months. How would it do to
make it, say, one hundred and fifty a week and extend it for
"Oh, very well," said Carrie, scarcely believing her ears.
"Supposing, then, you just sign this."
Carrie looked and beheld a new contract made out like the other
one, with the exception of the new figures of salary and time.
With a hand trembling from excitement she affixed her name.
"One hundred and fifty a week!" she murmured, when she was again
alone. She found, after all--as what millionaire has not?--that
there was no realising, in consciousness, the meaning of large
sums. It was only a shimmering, glittering phrase in which lay a
world of possibilities.
Down in a third-rate Bleecker Street hotel, the brooding
Hurstwood read the dramatic item covering Carrie's success,
without at first realising who was meant. Then suddenly it came
to him and he read the whole thing over again.
"That's her, all right, I guess," he said.
Then he looked about upon a dingy, moth-eaten hotel lobby.
"I guess she's struck it," he thought, a picture of the old
shiny, plush-covered world coming back, with its lights, its
ornaments, its carriages, and flowers. Ah, she was in the walled
city now! Its splendid gates had opened, admitting her from a
cold, dreary outside. She seemed a creature afar off--like every
other celebrity he had known.
"Well, let her have it," he said. "I won't bother her."
It was the grim resolution of a bent, bedraggled, but unbroken
AND THIS IS NOT ELF LAND--WHAT GOLD WILL NOT BUY
When Carrie got back on the stage, she found that over night her
dressing-room had been changed.
"You are to use this room, Miss Madenda," said one of the stage
No longer any need of climbing several flights of steps to a
small coop shared with another. Instead, a comparatively large
and commodious chamber with conveniences not enjoyed by the small
fry overhead. She breathed deeply and with delight. Her
sensations were more physical than mental. In fact, she was
scarcely thinking at all. Heart and body were having their say.
Gradually the deference and congratulation gave her a mental
appreciation of her state. She was no longer ordered, but
requested, and that politely. The other members of the cast
looked at her enviously as she came out arrayed in her simple
habit, which she wore all through the play. All those who had
supposedly been her equals and superiors now smiled the smile of
sociability, as much as to say: "How friendly we have always
been." Only the star comedian whose part had been so deeply
injured stalked by himself. Figuratively, he could not kiss the
hand that smote him.
Doing her simple part, Carrie gradually realised the meaning of
the applause which was for her, and it was sweet. She felt
mildly guilty of something--perhaps unworthiness. When her
associates addressed her in the wings she only smiled weakly.
The pride and daring of place were not for her. It never once
crossed her mind to be reserved or haughty--to be other than she
had been. After the performances she rode to her room with Lola,
in a carriage provided.
Then came a week in which the first fruits of success were
offered to her lips--bowl after bowl. It did not matter that her
splendid salary had not begun. The world seemed satisfied with
the promise. She began to get letters and cards. A Mr. Withers--
whom she did not know from Adam--having learned by some hook or
crook where she resided, bowed himself politely in.
"You will excuse me for intruding," he said; "but have you been
thinking of changing your apartments?"
"I hadn't thought of it," returned Carrie.
"Well, I am connected with the Wellington--the new hotel on
Broadway. You have probably seen notices of it in the papers."
Carrie recognised the name as standing for one of the newest and
most imposing hostelries. She had heard it spoken of as having a
"Just so," went on Mr. Withers, accepting her acknowledgment of
familiarity. "We have some very elegant rooms at present which
we would like to have you look at, if you have not made up your
mind where you intend to reside for the summer. Our apartments
are perfect in every detail--hot and cold water, private baths,
special hall service for every floor, elevators, and all that.
You know what our restaurant is."
Carrie looked at him quietly. She was wondering whether he took
her to be a millionaire.
"What are your rates?" she inquired.
"Well, now, that is what I came to talk with you privately about.
Our regular rates are anywhere from three to fifty dollars a
"Mercy!" interrupted Carrie. "I couldn't pay any such rate as
"I know how you feel about it," exclaimed Mr. Withers, halting.
"But just let me explain. I said those are our regular rates.
Like every other hotel we make special ones however. Possibly
you have not thought about it, but your name is worth something
"Oh!" ejaculated Carrie, seeing at a glance.
"Of course. Every hotel depends upon the repute of its patrons.
A well-known actress like yourself," and he bowed politely, while
Carrie flushed, "draws attention to the hotel, and--although you
may not believe it--patrons."
"Oh, yes," returned Carrie, vacantly, trying to arrange this
curious proposition in her mind.
"Now," continued Mr. Withers, swaying his derby hat softly and
beating one of his polished shoes upon the floor, "I want to
arrange, if possible, to have you come and stop at the
Wellington. You need not trouble about terms. In fact, we need
hardly discuss them. Anything will do for the summer--a mere
figure--anything that you think you could afford to pay."
Carrie was about to interrupt, but he gave her no chance.
"You can come to-day or to-morrow--the earlier the better--and we
will give you your choice of nice, light, outside rooms--the very
best we have."
"You're very kind," said Carrie, touched by the agent's extreme
affability. "I should like to come very much. I would want to
pay what is right, however. I shouldn't want to----"
"You need not trouble about that at all," interrupted Mr.
Withers. "We can arrange that to your entire satisfaction at any
time. If three dollars a day is satisfactory to you, it will be
so to us. All you have to do is to pay that sum to the clerk at
the end of the week or month, just as you wish, and he will give
you a receipt for what the rooms would cost if charged for at our
The speaker paused.
"Suppose you come and look at the rooms," he added.
"I'd be glad to," said Carrie, "but I have a rehearsal this
"I did not mean at once," he returned. "Any time will do. Would
this afternoon be inconvenient?"
"Not at all," said Carrie.
Suddenly she remembered Lola, who was out at the time.
"I have a room-mate," she added, "who will have to go wherever I
do. I forgot about that."
"Oh, very well," said Mr. Withers, blandly. "It is for you to
say whom you want with you. As I say, all that can be arranged
to suit yourself."
He bowed and backed toward the door.
"At four, then, we may expect you?"
"Yes," said Carrie.
"I will be there to show you," and so Mr. Withers withdrew.
After rehearsal Carrie informed Lola.
"Did they really?" exclaimed the latter, thinking of the
Wellington as a group of managers. "Isn't that fine? Oh, jolly!
It's so swell. That's where we dined that night we went with
those two Cushing boys. Don't you know?"
"I remember," said Carrie.
"Oh, it's as fine as it can be."
"We'd better be going up there," observed Carrie later in the
The rooms which Mr. Withers displayed to Carrie and Lola were
three and bath--a suite on the parlour floor. They were done in
chocolate and dark red, with rugs and hangings to match. Three
windows looked down into busy Broadway on the east, three into a
side street which crossed there. There were two lovely bedrooms,
set with brass and white enamel beds, white ribbon-trimmed chairs
and chiffoniers to match. In the third room, or parlour, was a
piano, a heavy piano lamp, with a shade of gorgeous pattern, a
library table, several huge easy rockers, some dado book shelves,
and a gilt curio case, filled with oddities. Pictures were upon
the walls, soft Turkish pillows upon the divan footstools of
brown plush upon the floor. Such accommodations would ordinarily
cost a hundred dollars a week.
"Oh, lovely!" exclaimed Lola, walking about.
"It is comfortable," said Carrie, who was lifting a lace curtain
and looking down into crowded Broadway.
The bath was a handsome affair, done in white enamel, with a
large, blue-bordered stone tub and nickel trimmings. It was
bright and commodious, with a bevelled mirror set in the wall at
one end and incandescent lights arranged in three places.
"Do you find these satisfactory?" observed Mr. Withers.
"Oh, very," answered Carrie.
"Well, then, any time you find it convenient to move in, they are
ready. The boy will bring you the keys at the door."
Carrie noted the elegantly carpeted and decorated hall, the
marbled lobby, and showy waiting-room. It was such a place as
she had often dreamed of occupying.
"I guess we'd better move right away, don't you think so?" she
observed to Lola, thinking of the commonplace chamber in
"Oh, by all means," said the latter.
The next day her trunks left for the new abode.
Dressing, after the matinee on Wednesday, a knock came at her
Carrie looked at the card handed by the boy and suffered a shock
"Tell her I'll be right out," she said softly. Then, looking at
the card, added: "Mrs. Vance."
"Why, you little sinner," the latter exclaimed, as she saw Carrie
coming toward her across the now vacant stage. "How in the world
did this happen?"
Carrie laughed merrily. There was no trace of embarrassment in
her friend's manner. You would have thought that the long
separation had come about accidentally.
"I don't know," returned Carrie, warming, in spite of her first
troubled feelings, toward this handsome, good-natured young
"Well, you know, I saw your picture in the Sunday paper, but your
name threw me off. I thought it must be you or somebody that
looked just like you, and I said: 'Well, now, I will go right
down there and see.' I was never more surprised in my life. How
are you, anyway?"
"Oh, very well," returned Carrie. "How have you been?"
"Fine. But aren't you a success! Dear, oh! All the papers
talking about you. I should think you would be just too proud to
breathe. I was almost afraid to come back here this afternoon."
"Oh, nonsense," said Carrie, blushing. "You know I'd be glad to
"Well, anyhow, here you are. Can't you come up and take dinner
with me now? Where are you stopping?"
"At the Wellington," said Carrie, who permitted herself a touch
of pride in the acknowledgment.
"Oh, are you?" exclaimed the other, upon whom the name was not
without its proper effect.
Tactfully, Mrs. Vance avoided the subject of Hurstwood, of whom
she could not help thinking. No doubt Carrie had left him. That
much she surmised.
"Oh, I don't think I can," said Carrie, "to-night. I have so
little time. I must be back here by 7.30. Won't you come and
dine with me?"
"I'd be delighted, but I can't to-night," said Mrs. Vance
studying Carrie's fine appearance. The latter's good fortune
made her seem more than ever worthy and delightful in the others
eyes. "I promised faithfully to be home at six." Glancing at the
small gold watch pinned to her bosom, she added: "I must be
going, too. Tell me when you're coming up, if at all."
"Why, any time you like," said Carrie.
"Well, to-morrow then. I'm living at the Chelsea now."
"Moved again?" exclaimed Carrie, laughing.
"Yes. You know I can't stay six months in one place. I just
have to move. Remember now--half-past five."
"I won't forget," said Carrie, casting a glance at her as she
went away. Then it came to her that she was as good as this
woman now--perhaps better. Something in the other's solicitude
and interest made her feel as if she were the one to condescend.
Now, as on each preceding day, letters were handed her by the
doorman at the Casino. This was a feature which had rapidly
developed since Monday. What they contained she well knew. MASH
NOTES were old affairs in their mildest form. She remembered
having received her first one far back in Columbia City. Since
then, as a chorus girl, she had received others--gentlemen who
prayed for an engagement. They were common sport between her and
Lola, who received some also. They both frequently made light of
Now, however, they came thick and fast. Gentlemen with fortunes
did not hesitate to note, as an addition to their own amiable
collection of virtues, that they had their horses and carriages.
"I have a million in my own right. I could give you every
luxury. There isn't anything you could ask for that you couldn't
have. I say this, not because I want to speak of my money, but
because I love you and wish to gratify your every desire. It is
love that prompts me to write. Will you not give me one half-
hour in which to plead my cause?"
Such of these letters as came while Carrie was still in the
Seventeenth Street place were read with more interest--though
never delight--than those which arrived after she was installed
in her luxurious quarters at the Wellington. Even there her
vanity--or that self-appreciation which, in its more rabid form,
is called vanity--was not sufficiently cloyed to make these
things wearisome. Adulation, being new in any form, pleased her.
Only she was sufficiently wise to distinguish between her old
condition and her new one. She had not had fame or money before.
Now they had come. She had not had adulation and affectionate
propositions before. Now they had come. Wherefore? She smiled
to think that men should suddenly find her so much more
attractive. In the least way it incited her to coolness and
"Do look here," she remarked to Lola. "See what this man says:
'If you will only deign to grant me one half-hour,'" she
repeated, with an imitation of languor. "The idea. Aren't men
"He must have lots of money, the way he talks," observed Lola.
"That's what they all say," said Carrie, innocently.
"Why don't you see him," suggested Lola, "and hear what he has to
"Indeed I won't," said Carrie. "I know what he'd say. I don't
want to meet anybody that way."
Lola looked at her with big, merry eyes.
"He couldn't hurt you," she returned. "You might have some fun
Carrie shook her head.
"You're awfully queer," returned the little, blue-eyed soldier.
Thus crowded fortune. For this whole week, though her large
salary had not yet arrived, it was as if the world understood and
trusted her. Without money--or the requisite sum, at least--she
enjoyed the luxuries which money could buy. For her the doors of
fine places seemed to open quite without the asking. These
palatial chambers, how marvellously they came to her. The
elegant apartments of Mrs. Vance in the Chelsea--these were hers.
Men sent flowers, love notes, offers of fortune. And still her
dreams ran riot. The one hundred and fifty! the one hundred and
fifty! What a door to an Aladdin's cave it seemed to be. Each
day, her head almost turned by developments, her fancies of what
her fortune must be, with ample money, grew and multiplied. She
conceived of delights which were not--saw lights of joy that
never were on land or sea. Then, at last, after a world of
anticipation, came her first installment of one hundred and fifty
It was paid to her in greenbacks--three twenties, six tens, and
six fives. Thus collected it made a very convenient roll. It
was accompanied by a smile and a salutation from the cashier who
"Ah, yes," said the latter, when she applied; "Miss Madenda--one
hundred and fifty dollars. Quite a success the show seems to
"Yes, indeed," returned Carrie.
Right after came one of the insignificant members of the company,
and she heard the changed tone of address.
"How much?" said the same cashier, sharply. One, such as she had
only recently been, was waiting for her modest salary. It took
her back to the few weeks in which she had collected--or rather
had received--almost with the air of a domestic, four-fifty per
week from a lordly foreman in a shoe factory--a man who, in
distributing the envelopes, had the manner of a prince doling out
favours to a servile group of petitioners. She knew that out in
Chicago this very day the same factory chamber was full of poor
homely-clad girls working in long lines at clattering machines;
that at noon they would eat a miserable lunch in a half-hour;
that Saturday they would gather, as they had when she was one of
them, and accept the small pay for work a hundred times harder
than she was now doing. Oh, it was so easy now! The world was so
rosy and bright. She felt so thrilled that she must needs walk
back to the hotel to think, wondering what she should do.
It does not take money long to make plain its impotence,
providing the desires are in the realm of affection. With her
one hundred and fifty in hand, Carrie could think of nothing
particularly to do. In itself, as a tangible, apparent thing
which she could touch and look upon, it was a diverting thing for
a few days, but this soon passed. Her hotel bill did not require
its use. Her clothes had for some time been wholly satisfactory.
Another day or two and she would receive another hundred and
fifty. It began to appear as if this were not so startlingly
necessary to maintain her present state. If she wanted to do
anything better or move higher she must have more--a great deal
Now a critic called to get up one of those tinsel interviews
which shine with clever observations, show up the wit of critics,
display the folly of celebrities, and divert the public. He
liked Carrie, and said so, publicly--adding, however, that she
was merely pretty, good-natured, and lucky. This cut like a
knife. The "Herald," getting up an entertainment for the benefit
of its free ice fund, did her the honour to beg her to appear
along with celebrities for nothing. She was visited by a young
author, who had a play which he thought she could produce. Alas,
she could not judge. It hurt her to think it. Then she found
she must put her money in the bank for safety, and so moving,
finally reached the place where it struck her that the door to
life's perfect enjoyment was not open.
Gradually she began to think it was because it was summer.
Nothing was going on much save such entertainments as the one in
which she was the star. Fifth Avenue was boarded up where the
rich had deserted their mansions. Madison Avenue was little
better. Broadway was full of loafing thespians in search of next
season's engagements. The whole city was quiet and her nights
were taken up with her work. Hence the feeling that there was
little to do.
"I don't know," she said to Lola one day, sitting at one of the
windows which looked down into Broadway, "I get lonely; don't
"No," said Lola, "not very often. You won't go anywhere. That's
what's the matter with you."
"Where can I go?"
"Why, there're lots of places," returned Lola, who was thinking
of her own lightsome tourneys with the gay youths. "You won't go
"I don't want to go with these people who write to me. I know
what kind they are."
"You oughtn't to be lonely," said Lola, thinking of Carrie's
success. "There're lots would give their ears to be in your
Carrie looked out again at the passing crowd.
"I don't know," she said.
Unconsciously her idle hands were beginning to weary.
CURIOUS SHIFTS OF THE POOR
The gloomy Hurstwood, sitting in his cheap hotel, where he had
taken refuge with seventy dollars--the price of his furniture--
between him and nothing, saw a hot summer out and a cool fall in,
reading. He was not wholly indifferent to the fact that his
money was slipping away. As fifty cents after fifty cents were
paid out for a day's lodging he became uneasy, and finally took a
cheaper room--thirty-five cents a day--to make his money last
longer. Frequently he saw notices of Carrie. Her picture was in
the "World" once or twice, and an old "Herald" he found in a
chair informed him that she had recently appeared with some
others at a benefit for something or other. He read these things
with mingled feelings. Each one seemed to put her farther and
farther away into a realm which became more imposing as it
receded from him. On the billboards, too, he saw a pretty
poster, showing her as the Quaker Maid, demure and dainty. More
than once he stopped and looked at these, gazing at the pretty
face in a sullen sort of way. His clothes were shabby, and he
presented a marked contrast to all that she now seemed to be.
Somehow, so long as he knew she was at the Casino, though he had
never any intention of going near her, there was a subconscious
comfort for him--he was not quite alone. The show seemed such a
fixture that, after a month or two, he began to take it for
granted that it was still running. In September it went on the
road and he did not notice it. When all but twenty dollars of
his money was gone, he moved to a fifteen-cent lodging-house in
the Bowery, where there was a bare lounging-room filled with
tables and benches as well as some chairs. Here his preference
was to close his eyes and dream of other days, a habit which grew
upon him. It was not sleep at first, but a mental hearkening
back to scenes and incidents in his Chicago life. As the present
became darker, the past grew brighter, and all that concerned it
stood in relief.
He was unconscious of just how much this habit had hold of him
until one day he found his lips repeating an old answer he had
made to one of his friends. They were in Fitzgerald and Moy's.
It was as if he stood in the door of his elegant little office,
comfortably dressed, talking to Sagar Morrison about the value of
South Chicago real estate in which the latter was about to
"How would you like to come in on that with me?" he heard
"Not me," he answered, just as he had years before. "I have my
hands full now."
The movement of his lips aroused him. He wondered whether he had
really spoken. The next time he noticed anything of the sort he
really did talk.
"Why don't you jump, you bloody fool?" he was saying. "Jump!"
It was a funny English story he was telling to a company of
actors. Even as his voice recalled him, he was smiling. A
crusty old codger, sitting near by, seemed disturbed; at least,
he stared in a most pointed way. Hurstwood straightened up. The
humour of the memory fled in an instant and he felt ashamed. For
relief, he left his chair and strolled out into the streets.
One day, looking down the ad. columns of the "Evening World," he
saw where a new play was at the Casino. Instantly, he came to a
mental halt. Carrie had gone! He remembered seeing a poster of
her only yesterday, but no doubt it was one left uncovered by the
new signs. Curiously, this fact shook him up. He had almost to
admit that somehow he was depending upon her being in the city.
Now she was gone. He wondered how this important fact had
skipped him. Goodness knows when she would be back now.
Impelled by a nervous fear, he rose and went into the dingy hall,
where he counted his remaining money, unseen. There were but ten
dollars in all.
He wondered how all these other lodging-house people around him
got along. They didn't seem to do anything. Perhaps they
begged--unquestionably they did. Many was the dime he had given
to such as they in his day. He had seen other men asking for
money on the streets. Maybe he could get some that way. There
was horror in this thought.
Sitting in the lodging-house room, he came to his last fifty
cents. He had saved and counted until his health was affected.
His stoutness had gone. With it, even the semblance of a fit in
his clothes. Now he decided he must do something, and, walking
about, saw another day go by, bringing him down to his last
twenty cents--not enough to eat for the morrow.
Summoning all his courage, he crossed to Broadway and up to the
Broadway Central hotel. Within a block he halted, undecided. A
big, heavy-faced porter was standing at one of the side
entrances, looking out. Hurstwood purposed to appeal to him.
Walking straight up, he was upon him before he could turn away.
"My friend," he said, recognising even in his plight the man's
inferiority, "is there anything about this hotel that I could get
The porter stared at him the while he continued to talk.
"I'm out of work and out of money and I've got to get something,--
it doesn't matter what. I don't care to talk about what I've
been, but if you'd tell me how to get something to do, I'd be
much obliged to you. It wouldn't matter if it only lasted a few
days just now. I've got to have something."
The porter still gazed, trying to look indifferent. Then, seeing
that Hurstwood was about to go on, he said:
"I've nothing to do with it. You'll have to ask inside."
Curiously, this stirred Hurstwood to further effort.
"I thought you might tell me."
The fellow shook his head irritably.
Inside went the ex-manager and straight to an office off the
clerk's desk. One of the managers of the hotel happened to be
there. Hurstwood looked him straight in the eye.
"Could you give me something to do for a few days?" he said.
"I'm in a position where I have to get something at once."
The comfortable manager looked at him, as much as to say: "Well,
I should judge so."
"I came here," explained Hurstwood, nervously, "because I've been
a manager myself in my day. I've had bad luck in a way but I'm
not here to tell you that. I want something to do, if only for a
The man imagined he saw a feverish gleam in the applicant's eye.
"What hotel did you manage?" he inquired.
"It wasn't a hotel," said Hurstwood. "I was manager of
Fitzgerald and Moy's place in Chicago for fifteen years."
"Is that so?" said the hotel man. "How did you come to get out
The figure of Hurstwood was rather surprising in contrast to the
"Well, by foolishness of my own. It isn't anything to talk about
now. You could find out if you wanted to. I'm 'broke' now and,
if you will believe me, I haven't eaten anything to-day."
The hotel man was slightly interested in this story. He could
hardly tell what to do with such a figure, and yet Hurstwood's
earnestness made him wish to do something.
"Call Olsen," he said, turning to the clerk.
In reply to a bell and a disappearing hall-boy, Olsen, the head
"Olsen," said the manager, "is there anything downstairs you
could find for this man to do? I'd like to give him something."
"I don't know, sir," said Olsen. "We have about all the help we
need. I think I could find something, sir, though, if you like."
"Do. Take him to the kitchen and tell Wilson to give him
something to eat."
"All right, sir," said Olsen.
Hurstwood followed. Out of the manager's sight, the head
porter's manner changed.
"I don't know what the devil there is to do," he observed.
Hurstwood said nothing. To him the big trunk hustler was a
subject for private contempt.
"You're to give this man something to eat," he observed to the
The latter looked Hurstwood over, and seeing something keen and
intellectual in his eyes, said:
"Well, sit down over there."
Thus was Hurstwood installed in the Broadway Central, but not for
long. He was in no shape or mood to do the scrub work that
exists about the foundation of every hotel. Nothing better
offering, he was set to aid the fireman, to work about the
basement, to do anything and everything that might offer.
Porters, cooks, firemen, clerks--all were over him. Moreover his
appearance did not please these individuals--his temper was too
lonely--and they made it disagreeable for him.
With the stolidity and indifference of despair, however, he
endured it all, sleeping in an attic at the roof of the house,
eating what the cook gave him, accepting a few dollars a week,
which he tried to save. His constitution was in no shape to
One day the following February he was sent on an errand to a
large coal company's office. It had been snowing and thawing and
the streets were sloppy. He soaked his shoes in his progress and
came back feeling dull and weary. All the next day he felt
unusually depressed and sat about as much as possible, to the
irritation of those who admired energy in others.
In the afternoon some boxes were to be moved to make room for new
culinary supplies. He was ordered to handle a truck.
Encountering a big box, he could not lift it.
"What's the matter there?" said the head porter. "Can't you
He was straining to lift it, but now he quit.
"No," he said, weakly.
The man looked at him and saw that he was deathly pale.
"Not sick, are you?" he asked.
"I think I am," returned Hurstwood.
"Well, you'd better go sit down, then."
This he did, but soon grew rapidly worse. It seemed all he could
do to crawl to his room, where he remained for a day.
"That man Wheeler's sick," reported one of the lackeys to the
"What's the matter with him?"
"I don't know. He's got a high fever."
The hotel physician looked at him.
"Better send him to Bellevue," he recommended. "He's got
Accordingly, he was carted away.
In three weeks the worst was over, but it was nearly the first of
May before his strength permitted him to be turned out. Then he
No more weakly looking object ever strolled out into the spring
sunshine than the once hale, lusty manager. All his corpulency
had fled. His face was thin and pale, his hands white, his body
flabby. Clothes and all, he weighed but one hundred and thirty-
five pounds. Some old garments had been given him--a cheap brown
coat and misfit pair of trousers. Also some change and advice.
He was told to apply to the charities.
Again he resorted to the Bowery lodging-house, brooding over
where to look. From this it was but a step to beggary.
"What can a man do?" he said. "I can't starve."
His first application was in sunny Second Avenue. A well-dressed
man came leisurely strolling toward him out of Stuyvesant Park.
Hurstwood nerved himself and sidled near.
"Would you mind giving me ten cents?" he said, directly. "I'm in
a position where I must ask some one."
The man scarcely looked at him, fished in his vest pocket and
took out a dime.
"There you are," he said.
"Much obliged," said Hurstwood, softly, but the other paid no
more attention to him.
Satisfied with his success and yet ashamed of his situation, he
decided that he would only ask for twenty-five cents more, since
that would be sufficient. He strolled about sizing up people,
but it was long before just the right face and situation arrived.
When he asked, he was refused. Shocked by this result, he took
an hour to recover and then asked again. This time a nickel was
given him. By the most watchful effort he did get twenty cents
more, but it was painful.
The next day he resorted to the same effort, experiencing a
variety of rebuffs and one or two generous receptions. At last
it crossed his mind that there was a science of faces, and that a
man could pick the liberal countenance if he tried.
It was no pleasure to him, however, this stopping of passers-by.
He saw one man taken up for it and now troubled lest he should be
arrested. Nevertheless, he went on, vaguely anticipating that
indefinite something which is always better.
It was with a sense of satisfaction, then, that he saw announced
one morning the return of the Casino Company, "with Miss Carrie
Madenda." He had thought of her often enough in days past. How
successful she was--how much money she must have! Even now,
however, it took a severe run of ill luck to decide him to appeal
to her. He was truly hungry before he said:
"I'll ask her. She won't refuse me a few dollars."
Accordingly, he headed for the Casino one afternoon, passing it
several times in an effort to locate the stage entrance. Then he
sat in Bryant Park, a block away, waiting. "She can't refuse to
help me a little," he kept saying to himself.
Beginning with half-past six, he hovered like a shadow about the
Thirty-ninth Street entrance, pretending always to be a hurrying
pedestrian and yet fearful lest he should miss his object. He
was slightly nervous, too, now that the eventful hour had
arrived; but being weak and hungry, his ability to suffer was
modified. At last he saw that the actors were beginning to
arrive, and his nervous tension increased, until it seemed as if
he could not stand much more.
Once he thought he saw Carrie coming and moved forward, only to
see that he was mistaken.
"She can't be long, now," he said to himself, half fearing to
encounter her and equally depressed at the thought that she might
have gone in by another way. His stomach was so empty that it
Individual after individual passed him, nearly all well dressed,
almost all indifferent. He saw coaches rolling by, gentlemen
passing with ladies--the evening's merriment was beginning in
this region of theatres and hotels.
Suddenly a coach rolled up and the driver jumped down to open the
door. Before Hurstwood could act, two ladies flounced across the
broad walk and disappeared in the stage door. He thought he saw
Carrie, but it was so unexpected, so elegant and far away, he
could hardly tell. He waited a while longer, growing feverish
with want, and then seeing that the stage door no longer opened,
and that a merry audience was arriving, he concluded it must have
been Carrie and turned away.
"Lord," he said, hastening out of the street into which the more
fortunate were pouring, "I've got to get something."
At that hour, when Broadway is wont to assume its most
interesting aspect, a peculiar individual invariably took his
stand at the corner of Twenty-sixth Street and Broadway--a spot
which is also intersected by Fifth Avenue. This was the hour
when the theatres were just beginning to receive their patrons.
Fire signs announcing the night's amusements blazed on every
hand. Cabs and carriages, their lamps gleaming like yellow eyes,
pattered by. Couples and parties of three and four freely
mingled in the common crowd, which poured by in a thick stream,
laughing and jesting. On Fifth Avenue were loungers--a few
wealthy strollers, a gentleman in evening dress with his lady on
his arm, some club-men passing from one smoking-room to another.
Across the way the great hotels showed a hundred gleaming
windows, their cafes and billiard-rooms filled with a
comfortable, well-dressed, and pleasure-loving throng. All about
was the night, pulsating with the thoughts of pleasure and
exhilaration--the curious enthusiasm of a great city bent upon
finding joy in a thousand different ways.
This unique individual was no less than an ex-soldier turned
religionist, who, having suffered the whips and privations of our
peculiar social system, had concluded that his duty to the God
which he conceived lay in aiding his fellow-man. The form of aid
which he chose to administer was entirely original with himself.
It consisted of securing a bed for all such homeless wayfarers as
should apply to him at this particular spot, though he had
scarcely the wherewithal to provide a comfortable habitation for
himself. Taking his place amid this lightsome atmosphere, he
would stand, his stocky figure cloaked in a great cape overcoat,
his head protected by a broad slouch hat, awaiting the applicants
who had in various ways learned the nature of his charity. For a
while he would stand alone, gazing like any idler upon an ever-
fascinating scene. On the evening in question, a policeman
passing saluted him as "captain," in a friendly way. An urchin
who had frequently seen him before, stopped to gaze. All others
took him for nothing out of the ordinary, save in the matter of
dress, and conceived of him as a stranger whistling and idling
for his own amusement.
As the first half-hour waned, certain characters appeared. Here
and there in the passing crowds one might see, now and then, a
loiterer edging interestedly near. A slouchy figure crossed the
opposite corner and glanced furtively in his direction. Another
came down Fifth Avenue to the corner of Twenty-sixth Street, took
a general survey, and hobbled off again. Two or three noticeable
Bowery types edged along the Fifth Avenue side of Madison Square,
but did not venture over. The soldier, in his cape overcoat,
walked a short line of ten feet at his corner, to and fro,
As nine o'clock approached, some of the hubbub of the earlier
hour passed. The atmosphere of the hotels was not so youthful.
The air, too, was colder. On every hand curious figures were
moving--watchers and peepers, without an imaginary circle, which
they seemed afraid to enter--a dozen in all. Presently, with the
arrival of a keener sense of cold, one figure came forward. It
crossed Broadway from out the shadow of Twenty-sixth Street, and,
in a halting, circuitous way, arrived close to the waiting
figure. There was something shamefaced or diffident about the
movement, as if the intention were to conceal any idea of
stopping until the very last moment. Then suddenly, close to the
soldier, came the halt.
The captain looked in recognition, but there was no especial
greeting. The newcomer nodded slightly and murmured something
like one who waits for gifts. The other simply motioned to-ward
the edge of the walk.
"Stand over there," he said.
By this the spell was broken. Even while the soldier resumed his
short, solemn walk, other figures shuffled forward. They did not
so much as greet the leader, but joined the one, sniffling and
hitching and scraping their feet.
"Gold, ain't it?"
"I'm glad winter's over."
"Looks as though it might rain."
The motley company had increased to ten. One or two knew each
other and conversed. Others stood off a few feet, not wishing to
be in the crowd and yet not counted out. They were peevish,
crusty, silent, eying nothing in particular and moving their
There would have been talking soon, but the soldier gave them no
chance. Counting sufficient to begin, he came forward.
"Beds, eh, all of you?"
There was a general shuffle and murmur of approval.
"Well, line up here. I'll see what I can do. I haven't a cent
They fell into a sort of broken, ragged line. One might see,
now, some of the chief characteristics by contrast. There was a
wooden leg in the line. Hats were all drooping, a group that
would ill become a second-hand Hester Street basement collection.
Trousers were all warped and frayed at the bottom and coats worn
and faded. In the glare of the store lights, some of the faces
looked dry and chalky; others were red with blotches and puffed
in the cheeks and under the eyes; one or two were rawboned and
reminded one of railroad hands. A few spectators came near,
drawn by the seemingly conferring group, then more and more, and
quickly there was a pushing, gaping crowd. Some one in the line
began to talk.
"Silence!" exclaimed the captain. "Now, then, gentlemen, these
men are without beds. They have to have some place to sleep to-
night. They can't lie out in the streets. I need twelve cents
to put one of them to bed. Who will give it to me?"
"Well, we'll have to wait here, boys, until some one does.
Twelve cents isn't so very much for one man."
"Here's fifteen," exclaimed a young man, peering forward with
strained eyes. "It's all I can afford."
"All right. Now I have fifteen. Step out of the line," and
seizing one by the shoulder, the captain marched him off a little
way and stood him up alone.
Coming back, he resumed his place and began again.
"I have three cents left. These men must be put to bed somehow.
There are"--counting--"one, two, three, four, five, six, seven,
eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve men. Nine cents more will put
the next man to bed; give him a good, comfortable bed for the
night. I go right along and look after that myself. Who will
give me nine cents?"
One of the watchers, this time a middle-aged man, handed him a
"Now, I have eight cents. Four more will give this man a bed.
Come, gentlemen. We are going very slow this evening. You all
have good beds. How about these?"
"Here you are," remarked a bystander, putting a coin into his
"That," said the captain, looking at the coin, "pays for two beds
for two men and gives me five on the next one. Who will give me
seven cents more?"
"I will," said a voice.
Coming down Sixth Avenue this evening, Hurstwood chanced to cross
east through Twenty-sixth Street toward Third Avenue. He was
wholly disconsolate in spirit, hungry to what he deemed an almost
mortal extent, weary, and defeated. How should he get at Carrie
now? It would be eleven before the show was over. If she came in
a coach, she would go away in one. He would need to interrupt
under most trying circumstances. Worst of all, he was hungry and
weary, and at best a whole day must intervene, for he had not
heart to try again to-night. He had no food and no bed.
When he neared Broadway, he noticed the captain's gathering of
wanderers, but thinking it to be the result of a street preacher
or some patent medicine fakir, was about to pass on. However, in
crossing the street toward Madison Square Park, he noticed the
line of men whose beds were already secured, stretching out from
the main body of the crowd. In the glare of the neighbouring
electric light he recognised a type of his own kind--the figures
whom he saw about the streets and in the lodging-houses, drifting
in mind and body like himself. He wondered what it could be and
There was the captain curtly pleading as before. He heard with
astonishment and a sense of relief the oft-repeated words: "These
men must have a bed." Before him was the line of unfortunates
whose beds were yet to be had, and seeing a newcomer quietly edge
up and take a position at the end of the line, he decided to do
likewise. What use to contend? He was weary to-night. It was a
simple way out of one difficulty, at least. To-morrow, maybe, he
would do better.
Back of him, where some of those were whose beds were safe, a
relaxed air was apparent. The strain of uncertainty being
removed, he heard them talking with moderate freedom and some
leaning toward sociability. Politics, religion, the state of the
government, some newspaper sensations, and the more notorious
facts the world over, found mouthpieces and auditors there.
Cracked and husky voices pronounced forcibly upon odd matters.
Vague and rambling observations were made in reply.
There were squints, and leers, and some dull, ox-like stares from
those who were too dull or too weary to converse.
Standing tells. Hurstwood became more weary waiting. He thought
he should drop soon and shifted restlessly from one foot to the
other. At last his turn came. The man ahead had been paid for
and gone to the blessed line of success. He was now first, and
already the captain was talking for him.
"Twelve cents, gentlemen--twelve cents puts this man to bed. He
wouldn't stand here in the cold if he had any place to go."
Hurstwood swallowed something that rose to his throat. Hunger
and weakness had made a coward of him.
"Here you are," said a stranger, handing money to the captain.
Now the latter put a kindly hand on the ex-manager's shoulder.
"Line up over there," he said.
Once there, Hurstwood breathed easier. He felt as if the world
were not quite so bad with such a good man in it. Others seemed
to feel like himself about this.
"Captain's a great feller, ain't he?" said the man ahead--a
little, woebegone, helpless-looking sort of individual, who
looked as though he had ever been the sport and care of fortune.
"Yes," said Hurstwood, indifferently.
"Huh! there's a lot back there yet," said a man farther up,
leaning out and looking back at the applicants for whom the
captain was pleading.
"Yes. Must be over a hundred to-night," said another.
"Look at the guy in the cab," observed a third.
A cab had stopped. Some gentleman in evening dress reached out a
bill to the captain, who took it with simple thanks and turned
away to his line. There was a general craning of necks as the
jewel in the white shirt front sparkled and the cab moved off.
Even the crowd gaped in awe.
"That fixes up nine men for the night," said the captain,
counting out as many of the line near him. "Line up over there.
Now, then, there are only seven. I need twelve cents."
Money came slowly. In the course of time the crowd thinned out
to a meagre handful. Fifth Avenue, save for an occasional cab or
foot passenger, was bare. Broadway was thinly peopled with
pedestrians. Only now and then a stranger passing noticed the
small group, handed out a coin, and went away, unheeding.
The captain remained stolid and determined. He talked on, very
slowly, uttering the fewest words and with a certain assurance,
as though he could not fail.
"Come; I can't stay out here all night. These men are getting
tired and cold. Some one give me four cents."
There came a time when he said nothing at all. Money was handed
him, and for each twelve cents he singled out a man and put him
in the other line. Then he walked up and down as before, looking
at the ground.
The theatres let out. Fire signs disappeared. A clock struck
eleven. Another half-hour and he was down to the last two men.
"Come, now," he exclaimed to several curious observers; "eighteen
cents will fix us all up for the night. Eighteen cents. I have
six. Somebody give me the money. Remember, I have to go over to
Brooklyn yet to-night. Before that I have to take these men down
and put them to bed. Eighteen cents."
No one responded. He walked to and fro, looking down for several
minutes, occasionally saying softly: "Eighteen cents." It seemed
as if this paltry sum would delay the desired culmination longer
than all the rest had. Hurstwood, buoyed up slightly by the long
line of which he was a part, refrained with an effort from
groaning, he was so weak.
At last a lady in opera cape and rustling skirts came down Fifth
Avenue, accompanied by her escort. Hurstwood gazed wearily,
reminded by her both of Carrie in her new world and of the time
when he had escorted his own wife in like manner.
While he was gazing, she turned and, looking at the remarkable
company, sent her escort over. He came, holding a bill in his
fingers, all elegant and graceful.
"Here you are," he said.
"Thanks," said the captain, turning to the two remaining
applicants. "Now we have some for to-morrow night," he added.
Therewith he lined up the last two and proceeded to the head,
counting as he went.
"One hundred and thirty-seven," he announced. "Now, boys, line
up. Right dress there. We won't be much longer about this.
He placed himself at the head and called out "Forward." Hurstwood
moved with the line. Across Fifth Avenue, through Madison Square
by the winding paths, east on Twenty-third Street, and down Third
Avenue wound the long, serpentine company. Midnight pedestrians
and loiterers stopped and stared as the company passed. Chatting
policemen, at various corners, stared indifferently or nodded to
the leader, whom they had seen before. On Third Avenue they
marched, a seemingly weary way, to Eighth Street, where there was
a lodginghouse, closed, apparently, for the night. They were
Outside in the gloom they stood, while the leader parleyed
within. Then doors swung open and they were invited in with a
Some one was at the head showing rooms, so that there was no
delay for keys. Toiling up the creaky stairs, Hurstwood looked
back and saw the captain, watching; the last one of the line
being included in his broad solicitude. Then he gathered his
cloak about him and strolled out into the night.
"I can't stand much of this," said Hurstwood, whose legs ached
him painfully, as he sat down upon the miserable bunk in the
small, lightless chamber allotted to him. "I've got to eat, or
STIRRING TROUBLED WATERS
Playing in New York one evening on this her return, Carrie was
putting the finishing touches to her toilet before leaving for
the night, when a commotion near the stage door caught her ear.
It included a familiar voice.
"Never mind, now. I want to see Miss Madenda."
"You'll have to send in your card."
"Oh, come off! Here."
A half-dollar was passed over, and now a knock came at her
Carrie opened it.
"Well, well!" said Drouet. "I do swear! Why, how are you? I knew
that was you the moment I saw you."
Carrie fell back a pace, expecting a most embarrassing
"Aren't you going to shake hands with me? Well, you're a dandy!
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