Chapters 12-13 Summary
Mrs. Hurstwood does not know about any moral indiscretions of her husband’s, but she does not put it past him. Hurstwood suspects her of suspecting him, but this does not bother him. One evening, he, Drouet, and Carrie go to the theater. Hurstwood’s son, George Jr., also goes, and he sees his father in the company of a woman. The next day, he confronts his father. Hurstwood smoothly explains that he was there with Mr. and Mrs. Drouet, who are business connections. Mrs. Hurstwood says she thought he had to work—she had requested that he go with her to the theater that very night. Hurstwood says that this was unavoidable and he afterward worked until two in the morning. For the next few days, Mrs. Hurstwood invites him to go out, but he always pleads that he is busy. She becomes irritated by his refusal to be seen with his wife socially.
Carrie goes driving with Mrs. Hale, the wife of the theater manager from upstairs. They ride along Shore Drive, an upscale neighborhood of Chicago. When she sees the luxurious homes, Carrie becomes dissatisfied with her life with Drouet. That evening, Hurstwood arrives; he supposedly is unaware that Drouet is out of town and Carrie is home alone. He mentions Shore Drive, and it becomes evident to him that Carrie is unhappy. When he confronts her with this, she confesses that it is true. He touches her hand in a familiar way but she pulls it back. He assures her that he meant nothing by it but they both know better. After he leaves, Carrie feels confused. Hurstwood feels confident that she likes him.
Hurstwood cannot stop thinking of Carrie. He has not slept with any woman except his wife, whatever she suspects. In evaluating his life, he realizes that he should not have married his wife because she does not interest him. Carrie feels unsure of her situation now. Hurstwood is so much more appealing than is Drouet, who fails to measure up when compared to this married man. On a day when she is going out for a walk, Hurstwood arrives and suggests that he accompany her. Soon he hires a carriage and they drive along the Boulevard, which is sparsely inhabited. He confesses to Carrie that he loves her and begs her to love him. She cannot speak, but Hurstwood continues imploring her. She finally kisses him, thus giving Hurstwood the answer he wanted.