Chapters 30-31 Summary

Hurstwood and Carrie, now living under the names of Mr. and Mrs. G. W. Wheeler, find a flat in New York. Hurstwood worries about living on the money he kept back from the amount he stole from his former employers. He looks around for a job for several days with no success; he learns that Tammany Hall controls much of the business in New York. At last he finds a saloon in which he can invest money to own thirty percent of the business. He turns over a thousand dollars and begins work. He had hoped to earn at least a hundred and fifty dollars a month, but he soon realizes that he will be lucky to get a hundred, at least in the beginning. He bought furniture on an installment plan and asks Carrie to wait before buying any new clothes. Carrie has never thought of Hurstwood’s having to economize, but she readily agrees. Hurstwood soon finds that learning to live with a very young wife is not what he has been used to. He meets an acquaintance on the street and feels terrified of being discovered, even though he no longer fears being arrested. The acquaintance greets him lukewarmly but promises to come and visit Hurstwood at his home. As he leaves, Hurstwood realizes that the man did not ask his address, which means he has no intention of visiting.

Carrie soon overcomes her disdain for New York and begins to enjoy her new life. Although their flat is small, Carrie is pleased with the furnishings. She devotes herself to domestic pursuits, always making sure that the place is presentable and the meals are pleasing when Hurstwood comes home. But soon Hurstwood begins to stay away, pleading business at work. Carrie frets, having prepared a wonderful dinner for him. Hurstwood finds more and more excuses to stay at work.

In their second year in New York, Carrie notices that a new couple has moved in next door. She learns that their name is Vance and finds a way to strike up an acquaintance. She notices that the Vances’ flat is more luxurious than her own. She also notices that Hurstwood flatters Mrs. Vance as he used to flatter her but does not anymore. Mrs. Vance proposes that she and Carrie go to the matinee, walking along Broadway. Carrie sees that the wealthy and fashionable walk along Broadway to see and to be seen. She appreciates the admiring glances she receives, but she is also very conscious that she is not as well dressed as Mrs. Vance is. This is something she intends to rectify.