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Sister Carrie, by Theodore Dreiser

Part 3 out of 11

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"It isn't very difficult," returned Hurstwood. "You could do
very well in a few weeks."

He was in the best form for entertaining this evening. His
clothes were particularly new and rich in appearance. The coat
lapels stood out with that medium stiffness which excellent cloth
possesses. The vest was of a rich Scotch plaid, set with a
double row of round mother-of-pearl buttons. His cravat was a
shiny combination of silken threads, not loud, not inconspicuous.
What he wore did not strike the eye so forcibly as that which
Drouet had on, but Carrie could see the elegance of the material.
Hurstwood's shoes were of soft, black calf, polished only to a
dull shine. Drouet wore patent leather but Carrie could not help
feeling that there was a distinction in favour of the soft
leather, where all else was so rich. She noticed these things
almost unconsciously. They were things which would naturally
flow from the situation. She was used to Drouet's appearance.

"Suppose we have a little game of euchre?" suggested Hurstwood,
after a light round of conversation. He was rather dexterous in
avoiding everything that would suggest that he knew anything of
Carrie's past. He kept away from personalities altogether, and
confined himself to those things which did not concern
individuals at all. By his manner, he put Carrie at her ease,
and by his deference and pleasantries he amused her. He
pretended to be seriously interested in all she said.

"I don't know how to play," said Carrie.

"Charlie, you are neglecting a part of your duty," he observed to
Drouet most affably. "Between us, though," he went on, "we can
show you."

By his tact he made Drouet feel that he admired his choice.
There was something in his manner that showed that he was pleased
to be there. Drouet felt really closer to him than ever before.
It gave him more respect for Carrie. Her appearance came into a
new light, under Hurstwood's appreciation. The situation livened

"Now, let me see," said Hurstwood, looking over Carrie's shoulder
very deferentially. "What have you?" He studied for a moment.
"That's rather good," he said.

"You're lucky. Now, I'll show you how to trounce your husband.
You take my advice."

"Here," said Drouet, "if you two are going to scheme together, I
won't stand a ghost of a show. Hurstwood's a regular sharp."

"No, it's your wife. She brings me luck. Why shouldn't she

Carrie looked gratefully at Hurstwood, and smiled at Drouet. The
former took the air of a mere friend. He was simply there to
enjoy himself. Anything that Carrie did was pleasing to him,
nothing more.

"There," he said, holding back one of his own good cards, and
giving Carrie a chance to take a trick. "I count that clever
playing for a beginner."

The latter laughed gleefully as she saw the hand coming her way.
It was as if she were invincible when Hurstwood helped her.

He did not look at her often. When he did, it was with a mild
light in his eye. Not a shade was there of anything save
geniality and kindness. He took back the shifty, clever gleam,
and replaced it with one of innocence. Carrie could not guess
but that it was pleasure with him in the immediate thing. She
felt that he considered she was doing a great deal.

"It's unfair to let such playing go without earning something,"
he said after a time, slipping his finger into the little coin
pocket of his coat. "Let's play for dimes."

"All right," said Drouet, fishing for bills.

Hurstwood was quicker. His fingers were full of new ten-cent
pieces. "Here we are," he said, supplying each one with a little

"Oh, this is gambling," smiled Carrie. "It's bad."

"No," said Drouet, "only fun. If you never play for more than
that, you will go to Heaven."

"Don't you moralise," said Hurstwood to Carrie gently, "until you
see what becomes of the money."

Drouet smiled.

"If your husband gets them, he'll tell you how bad it is."

Drouet laughed loud.

There was such an ingratiating tone about Hurstwood's voice, the
insinuation was so perceptible that even Carrie got the humour of

"When do you leave?" said Hurstwood to Drouet.

"On Wednesday," he replied.

"It's rather hard to have your husband running about like that,
isn't it?" said Hurstwood, addressing Carrie.

"She's going along with me this time," said Drouet.

"You must both go with me to the theatre before you go."

"Certainly," said Drouet. "Eh, Carrie?"

"I'd like it ever so much," she replied.

Hurstwood did his best to see that Carrie won the money. He
rejoiced in her success, kept counting her winnings, and finally
gathered and put them in her extended hand. They spread a little
lunch, at which he served the wine, and afterwards he used fine
tact in going.

"Now," he said, addressing first Carrie and then Drouet with his
eyes, "you must be ready at 7.30. I'll come and get you."

They went with him to the door and there was his cab waiting, its
red lamps gleaming cheerfully in the shadow.

"Now," he observed to Drouet, with a tone of good-fellowship,
"when you leave your wife alone, you must let me show her around
a little. It will break up her loneliness."

"Sure," said Drouet, quite pleased at the attention shown.

"You're so kind," observed Carrie.

"Not at all," said Hurstwood, "I would want your husband to do as
much for me."

He smiled and went lightly away. Carrie was thoroughly
impressed. She had never come in contact with such grace. As
for Drouet, he was equally pleased.

"There's a nice man," he remarked to Carrie, as they returned to
their cosey chamber. "A good friend of mine, too."

"He seems to be," said Carrie.

Chapter XI


Carrie was an apt student of fortune's ways--of fortune's
superficialities. Seeing a thing, she would immediately set to
inquiring how she would look, properly related to it. Be it
known that this is not fine feeling, it is not wisdom. The
greatest minds are not so afflicted; and on the contrary, the
lowest order of mind is not so disturbed. Fine clothes to her
were a vast persuasion; they spoke tenderly and Jesuitically for
themselves. When she came within earshot of their pleading,
desire in her bent a willing ear. The voice of the so-called
inanimate! Who shall translate for us the language of the

"My dear," said the lace collar she secured from Partridge's, "I
fit you beautifully; don't give me up."

"Ah, such little feet," said the leather of the soft new shoes;
"how effectively I cover them. What a pity they should ever want
my aid."

Once these things were in her hand, on her person, she might
dream of giving them up; the method by which they came might
intrude itself so forcibly that she would ache to be rid of the
thought of it, but she would not give them up. "Put on the old
clothes--that torn pair of shoes," was called to her by her
conscience in vain. She could possibly have conquered the fear
of hunger and gone back; the thought of hard work and a narrow
round of suffering would, under the last pressure of conscience,
have yielded, but spoil her appearance?--be old-clothed and poor-

Drouet heightened her opinion on this and allied subjects in such
a manner as to weaken her power of resisting their influence. It
is so easy to do this when the thing opined is in the line of
what we desire. In his hearty way, he insisted upon her good
looks. He looked at her admiringly, and she took it at its full
value. Under the circumstances, she did not need to carry
herself as pretty women do. She picked that knowledge up fast
enough for herself. Drouet had a habit, characteristic of his
kind, of looking after stylishly dressed or pretty women on the
street and remarking upon them. He had just enough of the
feminine love of dress to be a good judge--not of intellect, but
of clothes. He saw how they set their little feet, how they
carried their chins, with what grace and sinuosity they swung
their bodies. A dainty, self-conscious swaying of the hips by a
woman was to him as alluring as the glint of rare wine to a
toper. He would turn and follow the disappearing vision with his
eyes. He would thrill as a child with the unhindered passion
that was in him. He loved the thing that women love in
themselves, grace. At this, their own shrine, he knelt with
them, an ardent devotee.

"Did you see that woman who went by just now?" he said to Carrie
on the first day they took a walk together. "Fine stepper, wasn't

Carrie looked, and observed the grace commended.

"Yes, she is," she returned, cheerfully, a little suggestion of
possible defect in herself awakening in her mind. If that was so
fine, she must look at it more closely. Instinctively, she felt
a desire to imitate it. Surely she could do that too.

When one of her mind sees many things emphasized and re-
emphasized and admired, she gathers the logic of it and applies
accordingly. Drouet was not shrewd enough to see that this was
not tactful. He could not see that it would be better to make
her feel that she was competing with herself, not others better
than herself. He would not have done it with an older, wiser
woman, but in Carrie he saw only the novice. Less clever than
she, he was naturally unable to comprehend her sensibility. He
went on educating and wounding her, a thing rather foolish in one
whose admiration for his pupil and victim was apt to grow.

Carrie took the instructions affably. She saw what Drouet liked;
in a vague way she saw where he was weak. It lessens a woman's
opinion of a man when she learns that his admiration is so
pointedly and generously distributed. She sees but one object of
supreme compliment in this world, and that is herself. If a man
is to succeed with many women, he must be all in all to each.

In her own apartments Carrie saw things which were lessons in the
same school.

In the same house with her lived an official of one of the
theatres, Mr. Frank A. Hale, manager of the Standard, and his
wife, a pleasing-looking brunette of thirty-five. They were
people of a sort very common in America today, who live
respectably from hand to mouth. Hale received a salary of forty-
five dollars a week. His wife, quite attractive, affected the
feeling of youth, and objected to that sort of home life which
means the care of a house and the raising of a family. Like
Drouet and Carrie, they also occupied three rooms on the floor

Not long after she arrived Mrs. Hale established social relations
with her, and together they went about. For a long time this was
her only companionship, and the gossip of the manager's wife
formed the medium through which she saw the world. Such
trivialities, such praises of wealth, such conventional
expression of morals as sifted through this passive creature's
mind, fell upon Carrie and for the while confused her.

On the other hand, her own feelings were a corrective influence.
The constant drag to something better was not to be denied. By
those things which address the heart was she steadily recalled.
In the apartments across the hall were a young girl and her
mother. They were from Evansville, Indiana, the wife and
daughter of a railroad treasurer. The daughter was here to study
music, the mother to keep her company.

Carrie did not make their acquaintance, but she saw the daughter
coming in and going out. A few times she had seen her at the
piano in the parlour, and not infrequently had heard her play.
This young woman was particularly dressy for her station, and
wore a jewelled ring or two which flashed upon her white fingers
as she played.

Now Carrie was affected by music. Her nervous composition
responded to certain strains, much as certain strings of a harp
vibrate when a corresponding key of a piano is struck. She was
delicately moulded in sentiment, and answered with vague
ruminations to certain wistful chords. They awoke longings for
those things which she did not have. They caused her to cling
closer to things she possessed. One short song the young lady
played in a most soulful and tender mood. Carrie heard it
through the open door from the parlour below. It was at that
hour between afternoon and night when, for the idle, the
wanderer, things are apt to take on a wistful aspect. The mind
wanders forth on far journeys and returns with sheaves of
withered and departed joys. Carrie sat at her window looking
out. Drouet had been away since ten in the morning. She had
amused herself with a walk, a book by Bertha M. Clay which Drouet
had left there, though she did not wholly enjoy the latter, and
by changing her dress for the evening. Now she sat looking out
across the park as wistful and depressed as the nature which
craves variety and life can be under such circumstances. As she
contemplated her new state, the strain from the parlour below
stole upward. With it her thoughts became coloured and enmeshed.
She reverted to the things which were best and saddest within the
small limit of her experience. She became for the moment a

While she was in this mood Drouet came in, bringing with him an
entirely different atmosphere. It was dusk and Carrie had
neglected to light the lamp. The fire in the grate, too, had
burned low.

"Where are you, Cad?" he said, using a pet name he had given her.

"Here," she answered.

There was something delicate and lonely in her voice, but he
could not hear it. He had not the poetry in him that would seek
a woman out under such circumstances and console her for the
tragedy of life. Instead, he struck a match and lighted the gas.

"Hello," he exclaimed, "you've been crying."

Her eyes were still wet with a few vague tears.

"Pshaw," he said, "you don't want to do that."

He took her hand, feeling in his good-natured egotism that it was
probably lack of his presence which had made her lonely.

"Come on, now," he went on; "it's all right. Let's waltz a
little to that music."

He could not have introduced a more incongruous proposition. It
made clear to Carrie that he could not sympathise with her. She
could not have framed thoughts which would have expressed his
defect or made clear the difference between them, but she felt
it. It was his first great mistake.

What Drouet said about the girl's grace, as she tripped out
evenings accompanied by her mother, caused Carrie to perceive the
nature and value of those little modish ways which women adopt
when they would presume to be something. She looked in the
mirror and pursed up her lips, accompanying it with a little toss
of the head, as she had seen the railroad treasurer's daughter
do. She caught up her skirts with an easy swing, for had not
Drouet remarked that in her and several others, and Carrie was
naturally imitative. She began to get the hang of those little
things which the pretty woman who has vanity invariably adopts.
In short, her knowledge of grace doubled, and with it her
appearance changed. She became a girl of considerable taste.

Drouet noticed this. He saw the new bow in her hair and the new
way of arranging her locks which she affected one morning.

"You look fine that way, Cad," he said.

"Do I?" she replied, sweetly. It made her try for other effects
that selfsame day.

She used her feet less heavily, a thing that was brought about by
her attempting to imitate the treasurer's daughter's graceful
carriage. How much influence the presence of that young woman in
the same house had upon her it would be difficult to say. But,
because of all these things, when Hurstwood called he had found a
young woman who was much more than the Carrie to whom Drouet had
first spoken. The primary defects of dress and manner had
passed. She was pretty, graceful, rich in the timidity born of
uncertainty, and with a something childlike in her large eyes
which captured the fancy of this starched and conventional poser
among men. It was the ancient attraction of the fresh for the
stale. If there was a touch of appreciation left in him for the
bloom and unsophistication which is the charm of youth, it
rekindled now. He looked into her pretty face and felt the
subtle waves of young life radiating therefrom. In that large
clear eye he could see nothing that his blase nature could
understand as guile. The little vanity, if he could have
perceived it there, would have touched him as a pleasant thing.

"I wonder," he said, as he rode away in his cab, "how Drouet came
to win her."

He gave her credit for feelings superior to Drouet at the first

The cab plopped along between the far-receding lines of gas lamps
on either hand. He folded his gloved hands and saw only the
lighted chamber and Carrie's face. He was pondering over the
delight of youthful beauty.

"I'll have a bouquet for her," he thought. "Drouet won't mind."
He never for a moment concealed the fact of her attraction for
himself. He troubled himself not at all about Drouet's priority.
He was merely floating those gossamer threads of thought which,
like the spider's, he hoped would lay hold somewhere. He did not
know, he could not guess, what the result would be.

A few weeks later Drouet, in his peregrinations, encountered one
of his well-dressed lady acquaintances in Chicago on his return
from a short trip to Omaha. He had intended to hurry out to
Ogden Place and surprise Carrie, but now he fell into an
interesting conversation and soon modified his original

"Let's go to dinner," he said, little recking any chance meeting
which might trouble his way.

"Certainly," said his companion.

They visited one of the better restaurants for a social chat. It
was five in the afternoon when they met; it was seven-thirty
before the last bone was picked.

Drouet was just finishing a little incident he was relating, and
his face was expanding into a smile, when Hurstwood's eye caught
his own. The latter had come in with several friends, and,
seeing Drouet and some woman, not Carrie, drew his own

"Ah, the rascal," he thought, and then, with a touch of righteous
sympathy, "that's pretty hard on the little girl."

Drouet jumped from one easy thought to another as he caught
Hurstwood's eye. He felt but very little misgiving, until he saw
that Hurstwood was cautiously pretending not to see. Then some
of the latter's impression forced itself upon him. He thought of
Carrie and their last meeting. By George, he would have to
explain this to Hurstwood. Such a chance half-hour with an old
friend must not have anything more attached to it than it really

For the first time he was troubled. Here was a moral
complication of which he could not possibly get the ends.
Hurstwood would laugh at him for being a fickle boy. He would
laugh with Hurstwood. Carrie would never hear, his present
companion at table would never know, and yet he could not help
feeling that he was getting the worst of it--there was some faint
stigma attached, and he was not guilty. He broke up the dinner
by becoming dull, and saw his companion on her car. Then he went

"He hasn't talked to me about any of these later flames," thought
Hurstwood to himself. "He thinks I think he cares for the girl
out there."

"He ought not to think I'm knocking around, since I have just
introduced him out there," thought Drouet.

"I saw you," Hurstwood said, genially, the next time Drouet
drifted in to his polished resort, from which he could not stay
away. He raised his forefinger indicatively, as parents do to

"An old acquaintance of mine that I ran into just as I was coming
up from the station," explained Drouet. "She used to be quite a

"Still attracts a little, eh?" returned the other, affecting to

"Oh, no," said Drouet, "just couldn't escape her this time."

"How long are you here?" asked Hurstwood.

"Only a few days."

"You must bring the girl down and take dinner with me," he said.
"I'm afraid you keep her cooped up out there. I'll get a box for
Joe Jefferson."

"Not me," answered the drummer. "Sure I'll come."

This pleased Hurstwood immensely. He gave Drouet no credit for
any feelings toward Carrie whatever. He envied him, and now, as
he looked at the well-dressed jolly salesman, whom he so much
liked, the gleam of the rival glowed in his eye. He began to
"size up" Drouet from the standpoints of wit and fascination. He
began to look to see where he was weak. There was no disputing
that, whatever he might think of him as a good fellow, he felt a
certain amount of contempt for him as a lover. He could hoodwink
him all right. Why, if he would just let Carrie see one such
little incident as that of Thursday, it would settle the matter.
He ran on in thought, almost exulting, the while he laughed and
chatted, and Drouet felt nothing. He had no power of analysing
the glance and the atmosphere of a man like Hurstwood. He stood
and smiled and accepted the invitation while his friend examined
him with the eye of a hawk.

The object of this peculiarly involved comedy was not thinking of
either. She was busy adjusting her thoughts and feelings to
newer conditions, and was not in danger of suffering disturbing
pangs from either quarter.
One evening Drouet found her dressing herself before the glass.

"Cad," said he, catching her, "I believe you're getting vain."

"Nothing of the kind," she returned, smiling.

"Well, you're mighty pretty," he went on, slipping his arm around
her. "Put on that navy-blue dress of yours and I'll take you to
the show."

"Oh, I've promised Mrs. Hale to go with her to the Exposition to-
night," she returned, apologetically.

"You did, eh?" he said, studying the situation abstractedly. "I
wouldn't care to go to that myself."

"Well, I don't know," answered Carrie, puzzling, but not offering
to break her promise in his favour.

Just then a knock came at their door and the maidservant handed a
letter in.

"He says there's an answer expected," she explained.

"It's from Hurstwood," said Drouet, noting the superscription as
he tore it open.

"You are to come down and see Joe Jefferson with me to-night," it
ran in part. "It's my turn, as we agreed the other day. All
other bets are off."

"Well, what do you say to this?" asked Drouet, innocently, while
Carrie's mind bubbled with favourable replies.

"You had better decide, Charlie," she said, reservedly.

"I guess we had better go, if you can break that engagement
upstairs," said Drouet.

"Oh, I can," returned Carrie without thinking.

Drouet selected writing paper while Carrie went to change her
dress. She hardly explained to herself why this latest
invitation appealed to her most

"Shall I wear my hair as I did yesterday?" she asked, as she came
out with several articles of apparel pending.

"Sure," he returned, pleasantly.

She was relieved to see that he felt nothing. She did not credit
her willingness to go to any fascination Hurstwood held for her.
It seemed that the combination of Hurstwood, Drouet, and herself
was more agreeable than anything else that had been suggested.
She arrayed herself most carefully and they started off,
extending excuses upstairs.

"I say," said Hurstwood, as they came up the theatre lobby, "we
are exceedingly charming this evening."

Carrie fluttered under his approving glance.

"Now, then," he said, leading the way up the foyer into the

If ever there was dressiness it was here. It was the
personification of the old term spick and span.

"Did you ever see Jefferson?" he questioned, as he leaned toward
Carrie in the box.

"I never did," she returned.

"He's delightful, delightful," he went on, giving the commonplace
rendition of approval which such men know. He sent Drouet after
a programme, and then discoursed to Carrie concerning Jefferson
as he had heard of him. The former was pleased beyond
expression, and was really hypnotised by the environment, the
trappings of the box, the elegance of her companion. Several
times their eyes accidentally met, and then there poured into
hers such a flood of feeling as she had never before experienced.
She could not for the moment explain it, for in the next glance
or the next move of the hand there was seeming indifference,
mingled only with the kindest attention.

Drouet shared in the conversation, but he was almost dull in
comparison. Hurstwood entertained them both, and now it was
driven into Carrie's mind that here was the superior man. She
instinctively felt that he was stronger and higher, and yet
withal so simple. By the end of the third act she was sure that
Drouet was only a kindly soul, but otherwise defective. He sank
every moment in her estimation by the strong comparison.

"I have had such a nice time," said Carrie, when it was all over
and they were coming out.

"Yes, indeed," added Drouet, who was not in the least aware that
a battle had been fought and his defences weakened. He was like
the Emperor of China, who sat glorying in himself, unaware that
his fairest provinces were being wrested from him.

"Well, you have saved me a dreary evening," returned Hurstwood.

He took Carrie's little hand, and a current of feeling swept from
one to the other.

"I'm so tired," said Carrie, leaning back in the car when Drouet
began to talk.

"Well, you rest a little while I smoke," he said, rising, and
then he foolishly went to the forward platform of the car and
left the game as it stood.

Chapter XII


Mrs. Hurstwood was not aware of any of her husband's moral
defections, though she might readily have suspected his
tendencies, which she well understood. She was a woman upon
whose action under provocation you could never count. Hurstwood,
for one, had not the slightest idea of what she would do under
certain circumstances. He had never seen her thoroughly aroused.
In fact, she was not a woman who would fly into a passion. She
had too little faith in mankind not to know that they were
erring. She was too calculating to jeopardize any advantage she
might gain in the way of information by fruitless clamour. Her
wrath would never wreak itself in one fell blow. She would wait
and brood, studying the details and adding to them until her
power might be commensurate with her desire for revenge. At the
same time, she would not delay to inflict any injury, big or
little, which would wound the object of her revenge and still
leave him uncertain as to the source of the evil. She was a
cold, self-centred woman, with many a thought of her own which
never found expression, not even by so much as the glint of an

Hurstwood felt some of this in her nature, though he did not
actually perceive it. He dwelt with her in peace and some
satisfaction. He did not fear her in the least--there was no
cause for it. She still took a faint pride in him, which was
augmented by her desire to have her social integrity maintained.
She was secretly somewhat pleased by the fact that much of her
husband's property was in her name, a precaution which Hurstwood
had taken when his home interests were somewhat more alluring
than at present. His wife had not the slightest reason to feel
that anything would ever go amiss with their household, and yet
the shadows which run before gave her a thought of the good of it
now and then. She was in a position to become refractory with
considerable advantage, and Hurstwood conducted himself
circumspectly because he felt that he could not be sure of
anything once she became dissatisfied.

It so happened that on the night when Hurstwood, Carrie, and
Drouet were in the box at McVickar's, George, Jr., was in the
sixth row of the parquet with the daughter of H. B. Carmichael,
the third partner of a wholesale dry-goods house of that city.
Hurstwood did not see his son, for he sat, as was his wont, as
far back as possible, leaving himself just partially visible,
when he bent forward, to those within the first six rows in
question. It was his wont to sit this way in every theatre--to
make his personality as inconspicuous as possible where it would
be no advantage to him to have it otherwise.

He never moved but what, if there was any danger of his conduct
being misconstrued or ill-reported, he looked carefully about him
and counted the cost of every inch of conspicuity.

The next morning at breakfast his son said:

"I saw you, Governor, last night."

"Were you at McVickar's?" said Hurstwood, with the best grace in
the world.

"Yes," said young George.

"Who with?"

"Miss Carmichael."

Mrs. Hurstwood directed an inquiring glance at her husband, but
could not judge from his appearance whether it was any more than
a casual look into the theatre which was referred to.

"How was the play?" she inquired.

"Very good," returned Hurstwood, "only it's the same old thing,
'Rip Van Winkle.'"

"Whom did you go with?" queried his wife, with assumed

"Charlie Drouet and his wife. They are friends of Moy's,
visiting here."

Owing to the peculiar nature of his position, such a disclosure
as this would ordinarily create no difficulty. His wife took it
for granted that his situation called for certain social
movements in which she might not be included. But of late he had
pleaded office duty on several occasions when his wife asked for
his company to any evening entertainment. He had done so in
regard to the very evening in question only the morning before.

"I thought you were going to be busy," she remarked, very

"So I was," he exclaimed. "I couldn't help the interruption, but
I made up for it afterward by working until two."

This settled the discussion for the time being, but there was a
residue of opinion which was not satisfactory. There was no time
at which the claims of his wife could have been more
unsatisfactorily pushed. For years he had been steadily
modifying his matrimonial devotion, and found her company dull.
Now that a new light shone upon the horizon, this older luminary
paled in the west. He was satisfied to turn his face away
entirely, and any call to look back was irksome.

She, on the contrary, was not at all inclined to accept anything
less than a complete fulfilment of the letter of their
relationship, though the spirit might be wanting.

"We are coming down town this afternoon," she remarked, a few
days later. "I want you to come over to Kinsley's and meet Mr.
Phillips and his wife. They're stopping at the Tremont, and
we're going to show them around a little."

After the occurrence of Wednesday, he could not refuse, though
the Phillips were about as uninteresting as vanity and ignorance
could make them. He agreed, but it was with short grace. He was
angry when he left the house.

"I'll put a stop to this," he thought. "I'm not going to be
bothered fooling around with visitors when I have work to do."

Not long after this Mrs. Hurstwood came with a similar
proposition, only it was to a matinee this time.

"My dear," he returned, "I haven't time. I'm too busy."

"You find time to go with other people, though," she replied,
with considerable irritation.

"Nothing of the kind," he answered. "I can't avoid business
relations, and that's all there is to it."

"Well, never mind," she exclaimed. Her lips tightened. The
feeling of mutual antagonism was increased.

On the other hand, his interest in Drouet's little shop-girl grew
in an almost evenly balanced proportion. That young lady, under
the stress of her situation and the tutelage of her new friend,
changed effectively. She had the aptitude of the struggler who
seeks emancipation. The glow of a more showy life was not lost
upon her. She did not grow in knowledge so much as she awakened
in the matter of desire. Mrs. Hale's extended harangues upon the
subjects of wealth and position taught her to distinguish between
degrees of wealth.
Mrs. Hale loved to drive in the afternoon in the sun when it was
fine, and to satisfy her soul with a sight of those mansions and
lawns which she could not afford. On the North Side had been
erected a number of elegant mansions along what is now known as
the North Shore Drive. The present lake wall of stone and
granitoid was not then in place, but the road had been well laid
out, the intermediate spaces of lawn were lovely to look upon,
and the houses were thoroughly new and imposing. When the winter
season had passed and the first fine days of the early spring
appeared, Mrs. Hale secured a buggy for an afternoon and invited
Carrie. They rode first through Lincoln Park and on far out
towards Evanston, turning back at four and arriving at the north
end of the Shore Drive at about five o'clock. At this time of
year the days are still comparatively short, and the shadows of
the evening were beginning to settle down upon the great city.
Lamps were beginning to burn with that mellow radiance which
seems almost watery and translucent to the eye. There was a
softness in the air which speaks with an infinite delicacy of
feeling to the flesh as well as to the soul. Carrie felt that it
was a lovely day. She was ripened by it in spirit for many
suggestions. As they drove along the smooth pavement an
occasional carriage passed. She saw one stop and the footman
dismount, opening the door for a gentleman who seemed to be
leisurely returning from some afternoon pleasure. Across the
broad lawns, now first freshening into green, she saw lamps
faintly glowing upon rich interiors. Now it was but a chair, now
a table, now an ornate corner, which met her eye, but it appealed
to her as almost nothing else could. Such childish fancies as
she had had of fairy palaces and kingly quarters now came back.
She imagined that across these richly carved entrance-ways, where
the globed and crystalled lamps shone upon panelled doors set
with stained and designed panes of glass, was neither care nor
unsatisfied desire. She was perfectly certain that here was
happiness. If she could but stroll up yon broad walk, cross that
rich entrance-way, which to her was of the beauty of a jewel, and
sweep in grace and luxury to possession and command--oh! how
quickly would sadness flee; how, in an instant, would the
heartache end. She gazed and gazed, wondering, delighting,
longing, and all the while the siren voice of the unrestful was
whispering in her ear.

"If we could have such a home as that," said Mrs. Hale sadly,
"how delightful it would be."

"And yet they do say," said Carrie, "that no one is ever happy."

She had heard so much of the canting philosophy of the grapeless

"I notice," said Mrs. Hale, "that they all try mighty hard,
though, to take their misery in a mansion."

When she came to her own rooms, Carrie saw their comparative
insignificance. She was not so dull but that she could perceive
they were but three small rooms in a moderately well-furnished
boarding-house. She was not contrasting it now with what she had
had, but what she had so recently seen. The glow of the palatial
doors was still in her eye, the roll of cushioned carriages still
in her ears. What, after all, was Drouet? What was she? At her
window, she thought it over, rocking to and fro, and gazing out
across the lamp-lit park toward the lamp-lit houses on Warren and
Ashland avenues. She was too wrought up to care to go down to
eat, too pensive to do aught but rock and sing. Some old tunes
crept to her lips, and, as she sang them, her heart sank. She
longed and longed and longed. It was now for the old cottage
room in Columbia City, now the mansion upon the Shore Drive, now
the fine dress of some lady, now the elegance of some scene. She
was sad beyond measure, and yet uncertain, wishing, fancying.
Finally, it seemed as if all her state was one of loneliness and
forsakenness, and she could scarce refrain from trembling at the
lip. She hummed and hummed as the moments went by, sitting in
the shadow by the window, and was therein as happy, though she
did not perceive it, as she ever would be.

While Carrie was still in this frame of mind, the house-servant
brought up the intelligence that Mr. Hurstwood was in the parlour
asking to see Mr. and Mrs. Drouet.

"I guess he doesn't know that Charlie is out of town," thought

She had seen comparatively little of the manager during the
winter, but had been kept constantly in mind of him by one thing
and another, principally by the strong impression he had made.
She was quite disturbed for the moment as to her appearance, but
soon satisfied herself by the aid of the mirror, and went below.

Hurstwood was in his best form, as usual. He hadn't heard that
Drouet was out of town. He was but slightly affected by the
intelligence, and devoted himself to the more general topics
which would interest Carrie. It was surprising--the ease with
which he conducted a conversation. He was like every man who has
had the advantage of practice and knows he has sympathy. He knew
that Carrie listened to him pleasurably, and, without the least
effort, he fell into a train of observation which absorbed her
fancy. He drew up his chair and modulated his voice to such a
degree that what he said seemed wholly confidential. He confined
himself almost exclusively to his observation of men and
pleasures. He had been here and there, he had seen this and
that. Somehow he made Carrie wish to see similar things, and all
the while kept her aware of himself. She could not shut out the
consciousness of his individuality and presence for a moment. He
would raise his eyes slowly in smiling emphasis of something, and
she was fixed by their magnetism. He would draw out, with the
easiest grace, her approval. Once he touched her hand for
emphasis and she only smiled. He seemed to radiate an atmosphere
which suffused her being. He was never dull for a minute, and
seemed to make her clever. At least, she brightened under his
influence until all her best side was exhibited. She felt that
she was more clever with him than with others. At least, he
seemed to find so much in her to applaud. There was not the
slightest touch of patronage. Drouet was full of it.

There had been something so personal, so subtle, in each meeting
between them, both when Drouet was present and when he was
absent, that Carrie could not speak of it without feeling a sense
of difficulty. She was no talker. She could never arrange her
thoughts in fluent order. It was always a matter of feeling with
her, strong and deep. Each time there had been no sentence of
importance which she could relate, and as for the glances and
sensations, what woman would reveal them? Such things had never
been between her and Drouet. As a matter of fact, they could
never be. She had been dominated by distress and the
enthusiastic forces of relief which Drouet represented at an
opportune moment when she yielded to him. Now she was persuaded
by secret current feelings which Drouet had never understood.
Hurstwood's glance was as effective as the spoken words of a
lover, and more. They called for no immediate decision, and
could not be answered.

People in general attach too much importance to words. They are
under the illusion that talking effects great results. As a
matter of fact, words are, as a rule, the shallowest portion of
all the argument. They but dimly represent the great surging
feelings and desires which lie behind. When the distraction of
the tongue is removed, the heart listens.

In this conversation she heard, instead of his words, the voices
of the things which he represented. How suave was the counsel of
his appearance! How feelingly did his superior state speak for
itself! The growing desire he felt for her lay upon her spirit
as a gentle hand. She did not need to tremble at all, because it
was invisible; she did not need to worry over what other people
would say--what she herself would say--because it had no
tangibility. She was being pleaded with, persuaded, led into
denying old rights and assuming new ones, and yet there were no
words to prove it. Such conversation as was indulged in held the
same relationship to the actual mental enactments of the twain
that the low music of the orchestra does to the dramatic incident
which it is used to cover.

"Have you ever seen the houses along the Lake Shore on the North
Side?" asked Hurstwood.

"Why, I was just over there this afternoon--Mrs. Hale and I.
Aren't they beautiful?"

"They're very fine," he answered.

"Oh, me," said Carrie, pensively. "I wish I could live in such a

"You're not happy," said Hurstwood, slowly, after a slight pause.

He had raised his eyes solemnly and was looking into her own. He
assumed that he had struck a deep chord. Now was a slight chance
to say a word in his own behalf. He leaned over quietly and
continued his steady gaze. He felt the critical character of the
period. She endeavoured to stir, but it was useless. The whole
strength of a man's nature was working. He had good cause to
urge him on. He looked and looked, and the longer the situation
lasted the more difficult it became. The little shop-girl was
getting into deep water. She was letting her few supports float
away from her.

"Oh," she said at last, "you mustn't look at me like that."

"I can't help it," he answered.

She relaxed a little and let the situation endure, giving him

"You are not satisfied with life, are you?"

"No," she answered, weakly.

He saw he was the master of the situation--he felt it. He
reached over and touched her hand.

"You mustn't," she exclaimed, jumping up.

"I didn't intend to," he answered, easily.

She did not run away, as she might have done. She did not
terminate the interview, but he drifted off into a pleasant field
of thought with the readiest grace. Not long after he rose to
go, and she felt that he was in power.
"You mustn't feel bad," he said, kindly; "things will straighten
out in the course of time."

She made no answer, because she could think of nothing to say.

"We are good friends, aren't we?" he said, extending his hand.

"Yes," she answered.

"Not a word, then, until I see you again."

He retained a hold on her hand.

"I can't promise," she said, doubtfully.

"You must be more generous than that," he said, in such a simple
way that she was touched.

"Let's not talk about it any more," she returned.

"All right," he said, brightening.

He went down the steps and into his cab. Carrie closed the door
and ascended into her room. She undid her broad lace collar
before the mirror and unfastened her pretty alligator belt which
she had recently bought.

"I'm getting terrible," she said, honestly affected by a feeling
of trouble and shame. "I don't seem to do anything right."

She unloosed her hair after a time, and let it hang in loose
brown waves. Her mind was going over the events of the evening.

"I don't know," she murmured at last, "what I can do."

"Well," said Hurstwood as he rode away, "she likes me all right;
that I know."

The aroused manager whistled merrily for a good four miles to his
office an old melody that he had not recalled for fifteen years.

Chapter XIII


It was not quite two days after the scene between Carrie and
Hurstwood in the Ogden Place parlour before he again put in his
appearance. He had been thinking almost uninterruptedly of her.
Her leniency had, in a way, inflamed his regard. He felt that he
must succeed with her, and that speedily.

The reason for his interest, not to say fascination, was deeper
than mere desire. It was a flowering out of feelings which had
been withering in dry and almost barren soil for many years. It
is probable that Carrie represented a better order of woman than
had ever attracted him before. He had had no love affair since
that which culminated in his marriage, and since then time and
the world had taught him how raw and erroneous was his original
judgment. Whenever he thought of it, he told himself that, if he
had it to do over again, he would never marry such a woman. At
the same time, his experience with women in general had lessened
his respect for the sex. He maintained a cynical attitude, well
grounded on numerous experiences. Such women as he had known
were of nearly one type, selfish, ignorant, flashy. The wives of
his friends were not inspiring to look upon. His own wife had
developed a cold, commonplace nature which to him was anything
but pleasing. What he knew of that under-world where grovel the
beat-men of society (and he knew a great deal) had hardened his
nature. He looked upon most women with suspicion--a single eye
to the utility of beauty and dress. He followed them with a
keen, suggestive glance. At the same time, he was not so dull
but that a good woman commanded his respect. Personally, he did
not attempt to analyse the marvel of a saintly woman. He would
take off his hat, and would silence the light-tongued and the
vicious in her presence--much as the Irish keeper of a Bowery
hall will humble himself before a Sister of Mercy, and pay toll
to charity with a willing and reverent hand. But he would not
think much upon the question of why he did so.

A man in his situation who comes, after a long round of worthless
or hardening experiences, upon a young, unsophisticated, innocent
soul, is apt either to hold aloof, out of a sense of his own
remoteness, or to draw near and become fascinated and elated by
his discovery. It is only by a roundabout process that such men
ever do draw near such a girl. They have no method, no
understanding of how to ingratiate themselves in youthful favour,
save when they find virtue in the toils. If, unfortunately, the
fly has got caught in the net, the spider can come forth and talk
business upon its own terms. So when maidenhood has wandered
into the moil of the city, when it is brought within the circle
of the "rounder" and the roue, even though it be at the outermost
rim, they can come forth and use their alluring arts.

Hurstwood had gone, at Drouet's invitation, to meet a new baggage
of fine clothes and pretty features. He entered, expecting to
indulge in an evening of lightsome frolic, and then lose track of
the newcomer forever. Instead he found a woman whose youth and
beauty attracted him. In the mild light of Carrie's eye was
nothing of the calculation of the mistress. In the diffident
manner was nothing of the art of the courtesan. He saw at once
that a mistake had been made, that some difficult conditions had
pushed this troubled creature into his presence, and his interest
was enlisted. Here sympathy sprang to the rescue, but it was not
unmixed with selfishness. He wanted to win Carrie because he
thought her fate mingled with his was better than if it were
united with Drouet's. He envied the drummer his conquest as he
had never envied any man in all the course of his experience.

Carrie was certainly better than this man, as she was superior,
mentally, to Drouet. She came fresh from the air of the village,
the light of the country still in her eye. Here was neither
guile nor rapacity. There were slight inherited traits of both
in her, but they were rudimentary. She was too full of wonder
and desire to be greedy. She still looked about her upon the
great maze of the city without understanding. Hurstwood felt the
bloom and the youth. He picked her as he would the fresh fruit
of a tree. He felt as fresh in her presence as one who is taken
out of the flash of summer to the first cool breath of spring.

Carrie, left alone since the scene in question, and having no one
with whom to counsel, had at first wandered from one strange
mental conclusion to another, until at last, tired out, she gave
it up. She owed something to Drouet, she thought. It did not
seem more than yesterday that he had aided her when she was
worried and distressed. She had the kindliest feelings for him
in every way. She gave him credit for his good looks, his
generous feelings, and even, in fact, failed to recollect his
egotism when he was absent; but she could not feel any binding
influence keeping her for him as against all others. In fact,
such a thought had never had any grounding, even in Drouet's

The truth is, that this goodly drummer carried the doom of all
enduring relationships in his own lightsome manner and unstable
fancy. He went merrily on, assured that he was alluring all,
that affection followed tenderly in his wake, that things would
endure unchangingly for his pleasure. When he missed some old
face, or found some door finally shut to him, it did not grieve
him deeply. He was too young, too successful. He would remain
thus young in spirit until he was dead.

As for Hurstwood, he was alive with thoughts and feelings
concerning Carrie. He had no definite plans regarding her, but
he was determined to make her confess an affection for him. He
thought he saw in her drooping eye, her unstable glance, her
wavering manner, the symptoms of a budding passion. He wanted to
stand near her and make her lay her hand in his--he wanted to
find out what her next step would be--what the next sign of
feeling for him would be. Such anxiety and enthusiasm had not
affected him for years. He was a youth again in feeling--a
cavalier in action.

In his position opportunity for taking his evenings out was
excellent. He was a most faithful worker in general, and a man
who commanded the confidence of his employers in so far as the
distribution of his time was concerned. He could take such hours
off as he chose, for it was well known that he fulfilled his
managerial duties successfully, whatever time he might take. His
grace, tact, and ornate appearance gave the place an air which
was most essential, while at the same time his long experience
made him a most excellent judge of its stock necessities.
Bartenders and assistants might come and go, singly or in groups,
but, so long as he was present, the host of old-time customers
would barely notice the change. He gave the place the atmosphere
to which they were used. Consequently, he arranged his hours
very much to suit himself, taking now an afternoon, now an
evening, but invariably returning between eleven and twelve to
witness the last hour or two of the day's business and look after
the closing details.

"You see that things are safe and all the employees are out when
you go home, George," Moy had once remarked to him, and he never
once, in all the period of his long service, neglected to do
this. Neither of the owners had for years been in the resort
after five in the afternoon, and yet their manager as faithfully
fulfilled this request as if they had been there regularly to

On this Friday afternoon, scarcely two days after his previous
visit, he made up his mind to see Carrie. He could not stay away

"Evans," he said, addressing the head barkeeper, "if any one
calls, I will be back between four and five."

He hurried to Madison Street and boarded a horse-car, which
carried him to Ogden Place in half an hour.

Carrie had thought of going for a walk, and had put on a light
grey woollen dress with a jaunty double-breasted jacket. She had
out her hat and gloves, and was fastening a white lace tie about
her throat when the housemaid brought up the information that Mr.
Hurstwood wished to see her.

She started slightly at the announcement, but told the girl to
say that she would come down in a moment, and proceeded to hasten
her dressing.

Carrie could not have told herself at this moment whether she was
glad or sorry that the impressive manager was awaiting her
presence. She was slightly flurried and tingling in the cheeks,
but it was more nervousness than either fear or favour. She did
not try to conjecture what the drift of the conversation would
be. She only felt that she must be careful, and that Hurstwood
had an indefinable fascination for her. Then she gave her tie
its last touch with her fingers and went below.

The deep-feeling manager was himself a little strained in the
nerves by the thorough consciousness of his mission. He felt
that he must make a strong play on this occasion, but now that
the hour was come, and he heard Carrie's feet upon the stair, his
nerve failed him. He sank a little in determination, for he was
not so sure, after all, what her opinion might be.

When she entered the room, however, her appearance gave him
courage. She looked simple and charming enough to strengthen the
daring of any lover. Her apparent nervousness dispelled his own.

"How are you?" he said, easily. "I could not resist the
temptation to come out this afternoon, it was so pleasant."

"Yes," said Carrie, halting before him, "I was just preparing to
go for a walk myself."

"Oh, were you?" he said. "Supposing, then, you get your hat and
we both go?"

They crossed the park and went west along Washington Boulevard,
beautiful with its broad macadamised road, and large frame houses
set back from the sidewalks. It was a street where many of the
more prosperous residents of the West Side lived, and Hurstwood
could not help feeling nervous over the publicity of it. They
had gone but a few blocks when a livery stable sign in one of the
side streets solved the difficulty for him. He would take her to
drive along the new Boulevard.

The Boulevard at that time was little more than a country road.
The part he intended showing her was much farther out on this
same West Side, where there was scarcely a house. It connected
Douglas Park with Washington or South Park, and was nothing more
than a neatly MADE road, running due south for some five miles
over an open, grassy prairie, and then due east over the same
kind of prairie for the same distance. There was not a house to
be encountered anywhere along the larger part of the route, and
any conversation would be pleasantly free of interruption.

At the stable he picked a gentle horse, and they were soon out of
range of either public observation or hearing.

"Can you drive?" he said, after a time.

"I never tried," said Carrie.

He put the reins in her hand, and folded his arms.

"You see there's nothing to it much," he said, smilingly.

"Not when you have a gentle horse," said Carrie.

"You can handle a horse as well as any one, after a little
practice," he added, encouragingly.

He had been looking for some time for a break in the conversation
when he could give it a serious turn. Once or twice he had held
his peace, hoping that in silence her thoughts would take the
colour of his own, but she had lightly continued the subject.
Presently, however, his silence controlled the situation. The
drift of his thoughts began to tell. He gazed fixedly at nothing
in particular, as if he were thinking of something which
concerned her not at all. His thoughts, however, spoke for
themselves. She was very much aware that a climax was pending.

"Do you know," he said, "I have spent the happiest evenings in
years since I have known you?"

"Have you?" she said, with assumed airiness, but still excited by
the conviction which the tone of his voice carried.

"I was going to tell you the other evening," he added, "but
somehow the opportunity slipped away."

Carrie was listening without attempting to reply. She could
think of nothing worth while to say. Despite all the ideas
concerning right which had troubled her vaguely since she had
last seen him, she was now influenced again strongly in his

"I came out here to-day," he went on, solemnly, "to tell you just
how I feel--to see if you wouldn't listen to me."

Hurstwood was something of a romanticist after his kind. He was
capable of strong feelings--often poetic ones--and under a stress
of desire, such as the present, he waxed eloquent. That is, his
feelings and his voice were coloured with that seeming repression
and pathos which is the essence of eloquence.

"You know," he said, putting his hand on her arm, and keeping a
strange silence while he formulated words, "that I love you?"
Carrie did not stir at the words. She was bound up completely in
the man's atmosphere. He would have churchlike silence in order
to express his feelings, and she kept it. She did not move her
eyes from the flat, open scene before her. Hurstwood waited for
a few moments, and then repeated the words.

"You must not say that," she said, weakly.

Her words were not convincing at all. They were the result of a
feeble thought that something ought to be said. He paid no
attention to them whatever.

"Carrie," he said, using her first name with sympathetic
familiarity, "I want you to love me. You don't know how much I
need some one to waste a little affection on me. I am
practically alone. There is nothing in my life that is pleasant
or delightful. It's all work and worry with people who are
nothing to me."

As he said this, Hurstwood really imagined that his state was
pitiful. He had the ability to get off at a distance and view
himself objectively--of seeing what he wanted to see in the
things which made up his existence. Now, as he spoke, his voice
trembled with that peculiar vibration which is the result of
tensity. It went ringing home to his companion's heart.

"Why, I should think," she said, turning upon him large eyes
which were full of sympathy and feeling, "that you would be very
happy. You know so much of the world."

"That is it," he said, his voice dropping to a soft minor, "I
know too much of the world."

It was an important thing to her to hear one so well-positioned
and powerful speaking in this manner. She could not help feeling
the strangeness of her situation. How was it that, in so little
a while, the narrow life of the country had fallen from her as a
garment, and the city, with all its mystery, taken its place?
Here was this greatest mystery, the man of money and affairs
sitting beside her, appealing to her. Behold, he had ease and
comfort, his strength was great, his position high, his clothing
rich, and yet he was appealing to her. She could formulate no
thought which would be just and right. She troubled herself no
more upon the matter. She only basked in the warmth of his
feeling, which was as a grateful blaze to one who is cold.
Hurstwood glowed with his own intensity, and the heat of his
passion was already melting the wax of his companion's scruples.

"You think," he said, "I am happy; that I ought not to complain?
If you were to meet all day with people who care absolutely
nothing about you, if you went day after day to a place where
there was nothing but show and indifference, if there was not one
person in all those you knew to whom you could appeal for
sympathy or talk to with pleasure, perhaps you would be unhappy

He was striking a chord now which found sympathetic response in
her own situation. She knew what it was to meet with people who
were indifferent, to walk alone amid so many who cared absolutely
nothing about you. Had not she? Was not she at this very moment
quite alone? Who was there among all whom she knew to whom she
could appeal for sympathy? Not one. She was left to herself to
brood and wonder.

"I could be content," went on Hurstwood, "if I had you to love
me. If I had you to go to; you for a companion. As it is, I
simply move about from place to place without any satisfaction.
Time hangs heavily on my hands. Before you came I did nothing
but idle and drift into anything that offered itself. Since you
came--well, I've had you to think about."

The old illusion that here was some one who needed her aid began
to grow in Carrie's mind. She truly pitied this sad, lonely
figure. To think that all his fine state should be so barren for
want of her; that he needed to make such an appeal when she
herself was lonely and without anchor. Surely, this was too bad.

"I am not very bad," he said, apologetically, as if he owed it to
her to explain on this score. "You think, probably, that I roam
around, and get into all sorts of evil? I have been rather
reckless, but I could easily come out of that. I need you to
draw me back, if my life ever amounts to anything."

Carrie looked at him with the tenderness which virtue ever feels
in its hope of reclaiming vice. How could such a man need
reclaiming? His errors, what were they, that she could correct?
Small they must be, where all was so fine. At worst, they were
gilded affairs, and with what leniency are gilded errors viewed.
He put himself in such a lonely light that she was deeply moved.

"Is it that way?" she mused.

He slipped his arm about her waist, and she could not find the
heart to draw away. With his free hand he seized upon her
fingers. A breath of soft spring wind went bounding over the
road, rolling some brown twigs of the previous autumn before it.
The horse paced leisurely on, unguided.

"Tell me," he said, softly, "that you love me."

Her eyes fell consciously.

"Own to it, dear," he said, feelingly; "you do, don't you?"

She made no answer, but he felt his victory.

"Tell me," he said, richly, drawing her so close that their lips
were near together. He pressed her hand warmly, and then
released it to touch her cheek.

"You do?" he said, pressing his lips to her own.

For answer, her lips replied.

"Now," he said, joyously, his fine eyes ablaze, "you're my own
girl, aren't you?"

By way of further conclusion, her head lay softly upon his

Chapter XIV


Carrie in her rooms that evening was in a fine glow, physically
and mentally. She was deeply rejoicing in her affection for
Hurstwood and his love, and looked forward with fine fancy to
their next meeting Sunday night. They had agreed, without any
feeling of enforced secrecy, that she should come down town and
meet him, though, after all, the need of it was the cause.

Mrs. Hale, from her upper window, saw her come in.

"Um," she thought to herself, "she goes riding with another man
when her husband is out of the city. He had better keep an eye
on her."

The truth is that Mrs. Hale was not the only one who had a
thought on this score. The housemaid who had welcomed Hurstwood
had her opinion also. She had no particular regard for Carrie,
whom she took to be cold and disagreeable. At the same time, she
had a fancy for the merry and easy-mannered Drouet, who threw her
a pleasant remark now and then, and in other ways extended her
the evidence of that regard which he had for all members of the
sex. Hurstwood was more reserved and critical in his manner. He
did not appeal to this bodiced functionary in the same pleasant
way. She wondered that he came so frequently, that Mrs. Drouet
should go out with him this afternoon when Mr. Drouet was absent.
She gave vent to her opinions in the kitchen where the cook was.
As a result, a hum of gossip was set going which moved about the
house in that secret manner common to gossip.

Carrie, now that she had yielded sufficiently to Hurstwood to
confess her affection, no longer troubled about her attitude
towards him. Temporarily she gave little thought to Drouet,
thinking only of the dignity and grace of her lover and of his
consuming affection for her. On the first evening, she did
little but go over the details of the afternoon. It was the
first time her sympathies had ever been thoroughly aroused, and
they threw a new light on her character. She had some power of
initiative, latent before, which now began to exert itself. She
looked more practically upon her state and began to see
glimmerings of a way out. Hurstwood seemed a drag in the
direction of honour. Her feelings were exceedingly creditable,
in that they constructed out of these recent developments
something which conquered freedom from dishonour. She had no
idea what Hurstwood's next word would be. She only took his
affection to be a fine thing, and appended better, more generous
results accordingly.

As yet, Hurstwood had only a thought of pleasure without
responsibility. He did not feel that he was doing anything to
complicate his life. His position was secure, his home-life, if
not satisfactory, was at least undisturbed, his personal liberty
rather untrammelled. Carrie's love represented only so much
added pleasure. He would enjoy this new gift over and above his
ordinary allowance of pleasure. He would be happy with her and
his own affairs would go on as they had, undisturbed.

On Sunday evening Carrie dined with him at a place he had
selected in East Adams Street, and thereafter they took a cab to
what was then a pleasant evening resort out on Cottage Grove
Avenue near 39th Street. In the process of his declaration he
soon realised that Carrie took his love upon a higher basis than
he had anticipated. She kept him at a distance in a rather
earnest way, and submitted only to those tender tokens of
affection which better become the inexperienced lover. Hurstwood
saw that she was not to be possessed for the asking, and deferred
pressing his suit too warmly.

Since he feigned to believe in her married state he found that he
had to carry out the part. His triumph, he saw, was still at a
little distance. How far he could not guess.

They were returning to Ogden Place in the cab, when he asked:

"When will I see you again?"

"I don't know," she answered, wondering herself.

"Why not come down to The Fair," he suggested, "next Tuesday?"

She shook her head.

"Not so soon," she answered.

"I'll tell you what I'll do," he added. "I'll write you, care of
this West Side Post-office. Could you call next Tuesday?"

Carrie assented.

The cab stopped one door out of the way according to his call.

"Good-night," he whispered, as the cab rolled away.

Unfortunately for the smooth progression of this affair, Drouet
returned. Hurstwood was sitting in his imposing little office
the next afternoon when he saw Drouet enter.

"Why, hello, Charles," he called affably; "back again?"

"Yes," smiled Drouet, approaching and looking in at the door.

Hurstwood arose.

"Well," he said, looking the drummer over, "rosy as ever, eh?"

They began talking of the people they knew and things that had

"Been home yet?" finally asked Hurstwood.

"No, I am going, though," said Drouet.

"I remembered the little girl out there," said Hurstwood, "and
called once. Thought you wouldn't want her left quite alone."

"Right you are," agreed Drouet. "How is she?"

"Very well," said Hurstwood. "Rather anxious about you though.
You'd better go out now and cheer her up."

"I will," said Drouet, smilingly.

"Like to have you both come down and go to the show with me
Wednesday," concluded Hurstwood at parting.

"Thanks, old man," said his friend, "I'll see what the girl says
and let you know."

They separated in the most cordial manner.

"There's a nice fellow," Drouet thought to himself as he turned
the corner towards Madison.

"Drouet is a good fellow," Hurstwood thought to himself as he
went back into his office, "but he's no man for Carrie."

The thought of the latter turned his mind into a most pleasant
vein, and he wandered how he would get ahead of the drummer.

When Drouet entered Carrie's presence, he caught her in his arms
as usual, but she responded to his kiss with a tremour of

"Well," he said, "I had a great trip."

"Did you? How did you come out with that La Crosse man you were
telling me about?"

"Oh, fine; sold him a complete line. There was another fellow
there, representing Burnstein, a regular hook-nosed sheeny, but
he wasn't in it. I made him look like nothing at all."

As he undid his collar and unfastened his studs, preparatory to
washing his face and changing his clothes, he dilated upon his
trip. Carrie could not help listening with amusement to his
animated descriptions.

"I tell you," he said, "I surprised the people at the office.
I've sold more goods this last quarter than any other man of our
house on the road. I sold three thousand dollars' worth in La

He plunged his face in a basin of water, and puffed and blew as
he rubbed his neck and ears with his hands, while Carrie gazed
upon him with mingled thoughts of recollection and present
judgment. He was still wiping his face, when he continued:

"I'm going to strike for a raise in June. They can afford to pay
it, as much business as I turn in. I'll get it too, don't you

"I hope you do," said Carrie.

"And then if that little real estate deal I've got on goes
through, we'll get married," he said with a great show of
earnestness, the while he took his place before the mirror and
began brushing his hair.

"I don't believe you ever intend to marry me, Charlie," Carrie
said ruefully. The recent protestations of Hurstwood had given
her courage to say this.

"Oh, yes I do--course I do--what put that into your head?"

He had stopped his trifling before the mirror now and crossed
over to her. For the first time Carrie felt as if she must move
away from him.

"But you've been saying that so long," she said, looking with her
pretty face upturned into his.

"Well, and I mean it too, but it takes money to live as I want
to. Now, when I get this increase, I can come pretty near fixing
things all right, and I'll do it. Now, don't you worry, girlie."

He patted her reassuringly upon the shoulder, but Carrie felt how
really futile had been her hopes. She could clearly see that
this easy-going soul intended no move in her behalf. He was
simply letting things drift because he preferred the free round
of his present state to any legal trammellings.

In contrast, Hurstwood appeared strong and sincere. He had no
easy manner of putting her off. He sympathised with her and
showed her what her true value was. He needed her, while Drouet
did not care.

"Oh, no," she said remorsefully, her tone reflecting some of her
own success and more of her helplessness, "you never will."

"Well, you wait a little while and see," he concluded. "I'll
marry you all right."

Carrie looked at him and felt justified. She was looking for
something which would calm her conscience, and here it was, a
light, airy disregard of her claims upon his justice. He had
faithfully promised to marry her, and this was the way he
fulfilled his promise.

"Say," he said, after he had, as he thought, pleasantly disposed
of the marriage question, "I saw Hurstwood to-day, and he wants
us to go to the theatre with him."

Carrie started at the name, but recovered quickly enough to avoid

"When?" she asked, with assumed indifference.

"Wednesday. We'll go, won't we?"

"If you think so," she answered, her manner being so enforcedly
reserved as to almost excite suspicion. Drouet noticed something
but he thought it was due to her feelings concerning their talk
about marriage.
"He called once, he said."

"Yes," said Carrie, "he was out here Sunday evening."

"Was he?" said Drouet. "I thought from what he said that he had
called a week or so ago."

"So he did," answered Carrie, who was wholly unaware of what
conversation her lovers might have held. She was all at sea
mentally, and fearful of some entanglement which might ensue from
what she would answer.

"Oh, then he called twice?" said Drouet, the first shade of
misunderstanding showing in his face.

"Yes," said Carrie innocently, feeling now that Hurstwood must
have mentioned but one call.

Drouet imagined that he must have misunderstood his friend. He
did not attach particular importance to the information, after

"What did he have to say?" he queried, with slightly increased

"He said he came because he thought I might be lonely. You
hadn't been in there so long he wondered what had become of you."

"George is a fine fellow," said Drouet, rather gratified by his
conception of the manager's interest. "Come on and we'll go out
to dinner."

When Hurstwood saw that Drouet was back he wrote at once to
Carrie, saying:

"I told him I called on you, dearest, when he was away. I did
not say how often, but he probably thought once. Let me know of
anything you may have said. Answer by special messenger when you
get this, and, darling, I must see you. Let me know if you can't
meet me at Jackson and Throop Streets Wednesday afternoon at two
o'clock. I want to speak with you before we meet at the

Carrie received this Tuesday morning when she called at the West
Side branch of the post-office, and answered at once.

"I said you called twice," she wrote. "He didn't seem to mind.
I will try and be at Throop Street if nothing interferes. I seem
to be getting very bad. It's wrong to act as I do, I know."

Hurstwood, when he met her as agreed, reassured her on this

"You mustn't worry, sweetheart," he said. "Just as soon as he
goes on the road again we will arrange something. We'll fix it
so that you won't have to deceive any one."

Carrie imagined that he would marry her at once, though he had
not directly said so, and her spirits rose. She proposed to make
the best of the situation until Drouet left again.

"Don't show any more interest in me than you ever have,"
Hurstwood counselled concerning the evening at the theatre.

"You mustn't look at me steadily then," she answered, mindful of
the power of his eyes.

"I won't," he said, squeezing her hand at parting and giving the
glance she had just cautioned against.

"There," she said playfully, pointing a finger at him.

"The show hasn't begun yet," he returned.

He watched her walk from him with tender solicitation. Such
youth and prettiness reacted upon him more subtly than wine.

At the theatre things passed as they had in Hurstwood's favour.
If he had been pleasing to Carrie before, how much more so was he
now. His grace was more permeating because it found a readier
medium. Carrie watched his every movement with pleasure. She
almost forgot poor Drouet, who babbled on as if he were the host.

Hurstwood was too clever to give the slightest indication of a
change. He paid, if anything, more attention to his old friend
than usual, and yet in no way held him up to that subtle ridicule
which a lover in favour may so secretly practise before the
mistress of his heart. If anything, he felt the injustice of the
game as it stood, and was not cheap enough to add to it the
slightest mental taunt.

Only the play produced an ironical situation, and this was due to
Drouet alone.

The scene was one in "The Covenant," in which the wife listened
to the seductive voice of a lover in the absence of her husband.

"Served him right," said Drouet afterward, even in view of her
keen expiation of her error. "I haven't any pity for a man who
would be such a chump as that."

"Well, you never can tell," returned Hurstwood gently. "He
probably thought he was right."

"Well, a man ought to be more attentive than that to his wife if
he wants to keep her."

They had come out of the lobby and made their way through the
showy crush about the entrance way.

"Say, mister," said a voice at Hurstwood's side, "would you mind
giving me the price of a bed?"

Hurstwood was interestedly remarking to Carrie.

"Honest to God, mister, I'm without a place to sleep."

The plea was that of a gaunt-faced man of about thirty, who
looked the picture of privation and wretchedness. Drouet was the
first to see. He handed over a dime with an upwelling feeling of
pity in his heart. Hurstwood scarcely noticed the incident.
Carrie quickly forgot.

Chapter XV


The complete ignoring by Hurstwood of his own home came with the
growth of his affection for Carrie. His actions, in all that
related to his family, were of the most perfunctory kind. He sat
at breakfast with his wife and children, absorbed in his own
fancies, which reached far without the realm of their interests.
He read his paper, which was heightened in interest by the
shallowness of the themes discussed by his son and daughter.
Between himself and his wife ran a river of indifference.

Now that Carrie had come, he was in a fair way to be blissful
again. There was delight in going down town evenings. When he
walked forth in the short days, the street lamps had a merry
twinkle. He began to experience the almost forgotten feeling
which hastens the lover's feet. When he looked at his fine
clothes, he saw them with her eyes--and her eyes were young.

When in the flush of such feelings he heard his wife's voice,
when the insistent demands of matrimony recalled him from dreams
to a stale practice, how it grated. He then knew that this was a
chain which bound his feet.

"George," said Mrs. Hurstwood, in that tone of voice which had
long since come to be associated in his mind with demands, "we
want you to get us a season ticket to the races."

"Do you want to go to all of them?" he said with a rising

"Yes," she answered.

The races in question were soon to open at Washington Park, on
the South Side, and were considered quite society affairs among
those who did not affect religious rectitude and conservatism.
Mrs. Hurstwood had never asked for a whole season ticket before,
but this year certain considerations decided her to get a box.
For one thing, one of her neighbours, a certain Mr. and Mrs.
Ramsey, who were possessors of money, made out of the coal
business, had done so. In the next place, her favourite
physician, Dr. Beale, a gentleman inclined to horses and betting,
had talked with her concerning his intention to enter a two-year-
old in the Derby. In the third place, she wished to exhibit
Jessica, who was gaining in maturity and beauty, and whom she
hoped to marry to a man of means. Her own desire to be about in
such things and parade among her acquaintances and common throng
was as much an incentive as anything.

Hurstwood thought over the proposition a few moments without
answering. They were in the sitting room on the second floor,
waiting for supper. It was the evening of his engagement with
Carrie and Drouet to see "The Covenant," which had brought him
home to make some alterations in his dress.

"You're sure separate tickets wouldn't do as well?" he asked,
hesitating to say anything more rugged.

"No," she replied impatiently.

"Well," he said, taking offence at her manner, "you needn't get
mad about it. I'm just asking you."

"I'm not mad," she snapped. "I'm merely asking you for a season

"And I'm telling you," he returned, fixing a clear, steady eye on
her, "that it's no easy thing to get. I'm not sure whether the
manager will give it to me."

He had been thinking all the time of his "pull" with the race-
track magnates.

"We can buy it then," she exclaimed sharply.

"You talk easy," he said. "A season family ticket costs one
hundred and fifty dollars."

"I'll not argue with you," she replied with determination. "I
want the ticket and that's all there is to it."

She had risen, and now walked angrily out of the room.

"Well, you get it then," he said grimly, though in a modified
tone of voice.

As usual, the table was one short that evening.

The next morning he had cooled down considerably, and later the
ticket was duly secured, though it did not heal matters. He did
not mind giving his family a fair share of all that he earned,
but he did not like to be forced to provide against his will.

"Did you know, mother," said Jessica another day, "the Spencers
are getting ready to go away?"

"No. Where, I wonder?"

"Europe," said Jessica. "I met Georgine yesterday and she told
me. She just put on more airs about it."

"Did she say when?"

"Monday, I think. They'll get a notice in the papers again--they
always do."

"Never mind," said Mrs. Hurstwood consolingly, "we'll go one of
these days."

Hurstwood moved his eyes over the paper slowly, but said nothing.

"'We sail for Liverpool from New York,'" Jessica exclaimed,
mocking her acquaintance. "'Expect to spend most of the "summah"
in France,'--vain thing. As If it was anything to go to Europe."

"It must be if you envy her so much," put in Hurstwood.

It grated upon him to see the feeling his daughter displayed.

"Don't worry over them, my dear," said Mrs. Hurstwood.

"Did George get off?" asked Jessica of her mother another day,
thus revealing something that Hurstwood had heard nothing about.

"Where has he gone?" he asked, looking up. He had never before
been kept in ignorance concerning departures.

"He was going to Wheaton," said Jessica, not noticing the slight
put upon her father.

"What's out there?" he asked, secretly irritated and chagrined to
think that he should be made to pump for information in this

"A tennis match," said Jessica.

"He didn't say anything to me," Hurstwood concluded, finding it
difficult to refrain from a bitter tone.

"I guess he must have forgotten," exclaimed his wife blandly. In
the past he had always commanded a certain amount of respect,
which was a compound of appreciation and awe. The familiarity
which in part still existed between himself and his daughter he
had courted. As it was, it did not go beyond the light
assumption of words. The TONE was always modest. Whatever had
been, however, had lacked affection, and now he saw that he was
losing track of their doings. His knowledge was no longer
intimate. He sometimes saw them at table, and sometimes did not.
He heard of their doings occasionally, more often not. Some days
he found that he was all at sea as to what they were talking
about--things they had arranged to do or that they had done in
his absence. More affecting was the feeling that there were
little things going on of which he no longer heard. Jessica was
beginning to feel that her affairs were her own. George, Jr.,
flourished about as if he were a man entirely and must needs have
private matters. All this Hurstwood could see, and it left a
trace of feeling, for he was used to being considered--in his
official position, at least--and felt that his importance should
not begin to wane here. To darken it all, he saw the same
indifference and independence growing in his wife, while he
looked on and paid the bills.

He consoled himself with the thought, however, that, after all,
he was not without affection. Things might go as they would at
his house, but he had Carrie outside of it. With his mind's eye
he looked into her comfortable room in Ogden Place, where he had
spent several such delightful evenings, and thought how charming
it would be when Drouet was disposed of entirely and she was
waiting evenings in cosey little quarters for him. That no cause
would come up whereby Drouet would be led to inform Carrie
concerning his married state, he felt hopeful. Things were going
so smoothly that he believed they would not change. Shortly now
he would persuade Carrie and all would be satisfactory.

The day after their theatre visit he began writing her regularly--
a letter every morning, and begging her to do as much for him.
He was not literary by any means, but experience of the world and
his growing affection gave him somewhat of a style. This he
exercised at his office desk with perfect deliberation. He
purchased a box of delicately coloured and scented writing paper
in monogram, which he kept locked in one of the drawers. His
friends now wondered at the cleric and very official-looking
nature of his position. The five bartenders viewed with respect
the duties which could call a man to do so much desk-work and

Hurstwood surprised himself with his fluency. By the natural law
which governs all effort, what he wrote reacted upon him. He
began to feel those subtleties which he could find words to
express. With every expression came increased conception. Those
inmost breathings which there found words took hold upon him. He
thought Carrie worthy of all the affection he could there

Carrie was indeed worth loving if ever youth and grace are to
command that token of acknowledgment from life in their bloom.
Experience had not yet taken away that freshness of the spirit
which is the charm of the body. Her soft eyes contained in their
liquid lustre no suggestion of the knowledge of disappointment.
She had been troubled in a way by doubt and longing, but these
had made no deeper impression than could be traced in a certain
open wistfulness of glance and speech. The mouth had the
expression at times, in talking and in repose, of one who might
be upon the verge of tears. It was not that grief was thus ever
present. The pronunciation of certain syllables gave to her lips
this peculiarity of formation--a formation as suggestive and
moving as pathos itself.

There was nothing bold in her manner. Life had not taught her
domination--superciliousness of grace, which is the lordly power
of some women. Her longing for consideration was not
sufficiently powerful to move her to demand it. Even now she
lacked self-assurance, but there was that in what she had already
experienced which left her a little less than timid. She wanted
pleasure, she wanted position, and yet she was confused as to
what these things might be. Every hour the kaleidoscope of human
affairs threw a new lustre upon something, and therewith it
became for her the desired--the all. Another shift of the box,
and some other had become the beautiful, the perfect.

On her spiritual side, also, she was rich in feeling, as such a
nature well might be. Sorrow in her was aroused by many a
spectacle--an uncritical upwelling of grief for the weak and the
helpless. She was constantly pained by the sight of the white-
faced, ragged men who slopped desperately by her in a sort of
wretched mental stupor. The poorly clad girls who went blowing
by her window evenings, hurrying home from some of the shops of
the West Side, she pitied from the depths of her heart. She
would stand and bite her lips as they passed, shaking her little
head and wondering. They had so little, she thought. It was so
sad to be ragged and poor. The hang of faded clothes pained her

"And they have to work so hard!" was her only comment.

On the street sometimes she would see men working--Irishmen with
picks, coal-heavers with great loads to shovel, Americans busy
about some work which was a mere matter of strength--and they
touched her fancy. Toil, now that she was free of it, seemed
even a more desolate thing than when she was part of it. She saw
it through a mist of fancy--a pale, sombre half-light, which was
the essence of poetic feeling. Her old father, in his flour-
dusted miller's suit, sometimes returned to her in memory,
revived by a face in a window. A shoemaker pegging at his last,
a blastman seen through a narrow window in some basement where
iron was being melted, a bench-worker seen high aloft in some
window, his coat off, his sleeves rolled up; these took her back
in fancy to the details of the mill. She felt, though she seldom
expressed them, sad thoughts upon this score. Her sympathies
were ever with that under-world of toil from which she had so
recently sprung, and which she best understood.

Though Hurstwood did not know it, he was dealing with one whose
feelings were as tender and as delicate as this. He did not
know, but it was this in her, after all, which attracted him. He
never attempted to analyse the nature of his affection. It was
sufficient that there was tenderness in her eye, weakness in her
manner, good nature and hope in her thoughts. He drew near this
lily, which had sucked its waxen beauty and perfume from below a
depth of waters which he had never penetrated, and out of ooze
and mould which he could not understand. He drew near because it
was waxen and fresh. It lightened his feelings for him. It made
the morning worth while.

In a material way, she was considerably improved. Her
awkwardness had all but passed, leaving, if anything, a quaint
residue which was as pleasing as perfect grace. Her little shoes
now fitted her smartly and had high heels. She had learned much
about laces and those little neckpieces which add so much to a
woman's appearance. Her form had filled out until it was
admirably plump and well-rounded.

Hurstwood wrote her one morning, asking her to meet him in

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