Chapters 22-23 Summary
Mrs. Hurstwood berates Jessica for not coming down to breakfast. Jessica says she is not hungry, but her mother tells her to show some consideration to the servants, who must wait to clean up. As she leaves, Mrs. Hurstwood meets Dr. Beale on her steps. He accuses her of ignoring him when he saw her out riding on Washington Boulevard. Mrs. Hurstwood is immediately suspicious but tells him that it must have been Jessica whom he saw.
Mrs. Hurstwood and Jessica attend the races the day after Carrie’s triumphant performance. Jessica is involved in conversation with the young men around her, so Mrs. Hurstwood is left to talk with her acquaintances. She learns that her husband was at the theater the previous evening and told his friends there that his wife did not feel well and could not come. She hears about the spectacular performance of one of the actresses and begins to draw the correct conclusions.
That evening, Mrs. Hurstwood is cold and distant to her husband, despite his efforts to start a normal conversation. She demands that he give her the money to go to Waukesha by the next morning. Hurstwood immediately acts defensively. He tells her she has no right to “demand” anything. She confronts him with the information she has learned about his activities. After an intense argument, he says she can go to Waukesha if she wants. She says she knows that, as soon as she is gone, he will be “trifling around” with someone else. He resents her accusations, and he becomes belligerent. She tells him that if he won’t talk to her, he can talk to a lawyer. Having had enough, Hurstwood walks out, telling his wife that he will have nothing more to do with her.
Carrie returns home, having second thoughts about her plans to elope with Hurstwood. That evening, Drouet wonders how he can confront Carrie with what he has learned about Hurstwood’s frequent visits during his absence. In the end, Drouet blurts it out. Carrie is horrified at his discovery, but she claims it is Drouet’s fault because he told Hurstwood to come to see Carrie and take her out while he was gone. Drouet warns her that she should not be seen with Hurstwood, who is a married man. Carrie is overwhelmed by this news and blames Drouet for not telling her. Drouet asks her how she can turn to another man after all he has done for her. Carrie asks him what he has done, and Drouet answers that he rescued her from poverty and a confining life at her sister’s. Drouet, though hurt by her betrayal, agrees to leave and tells her that she may stay in the flat for the rest of the month. Carrie finally agrees. She realizes that, with Drouet’s departure and the revelation of Hurstwood’s marriage, she has nowhere else to go.