Jennie Gerhardt Theodore Dreiser

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Title: Jennie Gerhardt
Author: Theodore Dreiser.
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Jennie Gerhardt

Theodore Dreiser Jennie Gerhardt

One morning, in the fall of 1880, a middle-aged woman, accompanied by a young girl of eighteen, presented herself at the clerk's desk of the principal hotel in Columbus, Ohio, and made inquiry asto whether there was anything about the place that she could do. She was of a helpless, fleshy build, with a frank, open countenance and an innocent, diffident manner. Her eyes were large and patient, and in them dwelt such a shadow of distress as only those who have looked sympathetically into thecountenances of the distraught and helpless poor know anything about. Any one could see wherethe daughter behind her got the timidity and shamefacedness which now caused her to stand backand look indifferently away. She was a product of the fancy, the feeling, the innate affection of theuntutored but poetic mind of her mother combined with the gravity and poise which werecharacteristic of her father. Poverty was driving them. Together they presented so appealing apicture of honest necessity that even the clerk was affected."What is it you would like to do?" he said."Maybe you have some cleaning or scrubbing," she replied, timidly. "I could wash the floors."The daughter, hearing the statement, turned uneasily, not because it irritated her to work, butbecause she hated people to guess at the poverty that made it necessary. The clerk, manlike, wasaffected by the evidence of beauty in distress. The innocent helplessness of the daughter made theirlot seem hard inde