Chapters 20-21 Summary

The next morning, Hurstwood still feels intensely jealous of Carrie’s relationship with Drouet. He would give anything if she would get rid of Drouet and accept him instead. At breakfast, he has no appetite. There is a new servant who has already shown herself inadequate. Mrs. Hurstwood berates her, and Hurstwood feels more irritated by her than ever. His wife asks him if he has decided when he will take his vacation. He tells her there is no rush and that he is very busy at the moment. Mrs. Hurstwood warns him not to put it off until the season is over. He points out to her that she will not want to leave until the races are over. Mrs. Hurstwood says she might because Jessica has decided there are not as many eligible men at the racetrack as she had counted on. This annoys Hurstwood, and he tells his wife that it was obviously a waste of money to get the season tickets she pressured him into getting. Offended, Mrs. Hurstwood tells him she refuses to argue with him. He replies that she never talks to him anymore. He tells her that he might be ready to go on vacation in not less than a month, if he goes at all. His wife says they might go without him. He accuses her of trying to boss him around but says it will not work. Mrs. Hurstwood leaves, and soon Mr. Hurstwood walks out the door. Mrs. Hurstwood had not anticipated such an argument, but Jessica had said that a group of boys were going up to Waukesha, Wisconsin, for the summer, and she wants to go as well. She is not sure why this led to such a massive feud. Mr. Hurstwood only wants to find some way to get rid of Drouet so he can have Carrie all to himself.

Drouet strikes up a flirtatious conversation with the chambermaid. She asks him where Hurstwood is lately, since he has not come to see Mrs. Drouet since Mr. Drouet came home. He learns that Hurstwood had come to see Carrie or gone out with her almost every evening while he was absent. Drouet feels upset and leaves, but soon he returns and questions the maid further. He vows to confront Carrie with this news.

The next morning, Carrie meets Hurstwood, who praises her highly for her performance. He begs her to make a decision and come away with him. Carrie wonders how much he really knows about the truth of her relationship with Drouet. She asks if they will get married soon. He promises that they will on Saturday, if that is not too soon for her. She agrees, and the two part.