Study Guide

Sister Carrie Chapter 29

By Theodore Dreiser

Chapter 29

The Solace of Travel: The Boats of the Sea

  • Still rolling along, Carrie gazes out the train's window. Forgetting all about having essentially been kidnapped by Hurstwood, she starts getting excited about the journey.
  • The next morning, they arrive in Montreal and go straight to a fancy hotel. Hurstwood signs in with a fake last name and his real initials (G.W.).
  • Once inside their room, Hurstwood begs Carrie to marry him. She has mixed feelings—on the one hand, he's still a creep for deceiving her; but on the other hand, she's pretty much got nobody else.
  • They end up kissing and then she asks him if he'll marry her. He replies that he'll do it today. He tells her to get ready—he'll be back in less than an hour.
  • Hurstwood goes to the lobby in search of a barbershop, feeling like everything's just hunky-dory now. Until he hears a familiar voice.
  • Oh, no—it's one of his business friends, Kenny. He's surprised to see Hurstwood, who explains that he's there attending to "a little private matter." Kenny invites him for a drink later and he says okay.
  • Seeing Kenny reminds Hurstwood of his crime, and he worries about whether the newspapers have broken the story yet.
  • Hurstwood decides to go back up and get Carrie to take her to have breakfast at another hotel. But on his way, he notices some dude watching him. It's got to be a detective, he thinks. Let the paranoia begin.
  • Carrie's looking all fresh and ready to go by the time Hurstwood gets back up to the room. She's not exactly overflowing with love though, which makes him feel worse.
  • Hurstwood and Carrie leave the hotel, and on their way to breakfast Hurstwood sees that same dude who he thinks is a detective.
  • At the restaurant, Carrie tells Hurstwood that she's not digging Montreal—the place seems pretty dead. He tells her they don't have to stay long and tries to cheer her up with the promise of a shopping trip that afternoon. He tells her they'll be heading to New York soon.
  • They go back to the hotel and Hurstwood figures he better try to find a paper to see if he's front-page news yet. He leaves Carrie in the room and goes to get a paper. The story is there, but it's not featured prominently. He feels very regretful about what he's done.
  • He goes back upstairs to get Carrie and is about to talk to her when (dun, dun, dun) there's a knock at the door.
  • It's the detective dude. Uh-oh—Hurstwood steps into the hall.
  • Evidently Hurstwood wasn't just being paranoid: this guy really is a detective. But Hurstwood is cool as a cucumber.
  • The detective asks him if he plans to keep the stolen money, and Hurstwood tells him "I know just what you can do and what you can't" and says that he's already written to his bosses to settle the situation.
  • Hurstwood goes back into the room. Carrie asks who the guy was and Hurstwood tells her it was some buddy of his from Chicago.
  • He thinks about his plan to write to his employers to explain what happened and then send the money back. Not such a bad idea, he concludes. He hopes they'll forgive him and take him back.
  • He writes the letter and sends it, figuring he won't send the money yet until he hears back from them.
  • Feeling insecure, he asks Carrie if she'll stay with him. Carrie now feels sorry for him and says yes, but only on the condition that they get married. He says he'll get a license under a different name—Wheeler (she nixes his first name choice of Murdock). The ensuing wedding doesn't exactly sound like a dream: "They were married by a Baptist minister, the first divine they found convenient" (29.135).
  • Hurstwood hears back from his employers. They're shocked at what he did, but if he returns the money, they won't prosecute. Whew—what a relief. But his employers aren't sure about the idea of him coming back to work. They'll get back to him on that one.
  • He's bummed. He pays them back almost everything he owes, pocketing a bit for himself. He tells Carrie to pack up and has her trunk sent to the train station with instructions to get it to NYC. Despite the communication with his employers, he's still afraid a police officer might be on his trail as he heads out of Canada to New York.
  • They ride into New York and Carrie's entranced by the place.
  • When they get into Grand Central Station, Hurstwood pretty much leaves Carrie in the dust as he makes a beeline for the street, still fearing he might be arrested at any moment. Carrie catches up with him and he hails them a cab—for the first time, he starts worrying about how much it's going to cost him.
  • Hurstwood tells Carrie they should go apartment hunting right away, and he tells the cab driver to take him to a hotel where he's less likely to be seen by anyone he knows.
  • Carrie asks Hurstwood where the "Residence part" of New York is and he tells her this isn't the kind of place with big houses and picket fences. She doesn't like the sound of that.