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Sister Carrie: a Novel by Theodore Dreiser
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Sister Carrie
by Theodore Dreiser



Chapter I

THE MAGNET ATTRACTING--A WAIF AMID FORCES


When Caroline Meeber boarded the afternoon train for Chicago, her
total outfit consisted of a small trunk, a cheap imitation
alligator-skin satchel, a small lunch in a paper box, and a
yellow leather snap purse, containing her ticket, a scrap of
paper with her sister's address in Van Buren Street, and four
dollars in money. It was in August, 1889. She was eighteen
years of age, bright, timid, and full of the illusions of
ignorance and youth. Whatever touch of regret at parting
characterised her thoughts, it was certainly not for advantages
now being given up. A gush of tears at her mother's farewell
kiss, a touch in her throat when the cars clacked by the flour
mill where her father worked by the day, a pathetic sigh as the
familiar green environs of the village passed in review, and the
threads which bound her so lightly to girlhood and home were
irretrievably broken.

To be sure there was always the next station, where one might
descend and return. There was the great city, bound more closely
by these very trains which came up daily. Columbia City was not
so very far away, even once she was in Chicago. What, pray, is a