Chapters 46-47 Summary
When Carrie returns to New York after being on tour, Drouet forces himself into her dressing room. He looks the same and is still loud and overbearing. He tries to get Carrie to go out to dinner with him that evening but she puts him off until the next day; she tells him to meet her at the Waldorf, where she is now living. Drouet clearly wants to reconnect with her and resume their relationship, but Carrie has moved passed that. She avoids meeting him again.
That evening Carrie is startled when Hurstwood approaches her, asking for money. At first she does not recognize him, but when she hears his voice she feels concerned about his obvious physical decline. She gives him money and he leaves, promising not to bother her again. Carrie is haunted by this encounter.
She goes to London for several months. When she returns, she meets Ames, who is now living in New York and pursuing his inventions in a new laboratory. She does not feel the same attraction to him that she felt before, but she meets him for dinner. He tells her that, with her vulnerable appearance, she should not be doing comedy. She thinks about this and tells Lola she is considering going into a more serious play. However, she is comfortable where she is and hates to change, so she does nothing for the present.
Hurstwood goes from soup kitchen to soup kitchen, of which New York is filled, but he is seemingly invisible to those who are well situated. He waits in the cold with the other homeless, filing through the dining room to get a free meal. Frequently he thinks of ending his life, but then he gets a few cents that will take him on to his next meal and his next bed. His appearance continues to disintegrate until he is seen as an inexorable bum and even begging becomes profitless. He sees Carrie’s name in lights and thinks she owes him something, but he is thrown down the steps when he tries to see her.
Carrie resides comfortably in her rooms, reading a better class of novel, as Ames suggested. She remembers with shame the types of books she used to read. She sees herself as having risen to a higher level. Drouet remains in the city, but he soon gives up hope of ever seeing Carrie again. Hurstwood rents a room, turns on the gas, and commits suicide. Mrs. Hurstwood, Jessica, and her new husband pass through New York on their way to Rome. Carrie now has all she once thought would make her life complete: money, comfort, and friends. The one thing she does not have is happiness.