Part 4 out of 11
Jefferson Park, Monroe Street. He did not consider it policy to
call any more, even when Drouet was at home.
The next afternoon he was in the pretty little park by one, and
had found a rustic bench beneath the green leaves of a lilac bush
which bordered one of the paths. It was at that season of the
year when the fulness of spring had not yet worn quite away. At
a little pond near by some cleanly dressed children were sailing
white canvas boats. In the shade of a green pagoda a bebuttoned
officer of the law was resting, his arms folded, his club at rest
in his belt. An old gardener was upon the lawn, with a pair of
pruning shears, looking after some bushes. High overhead was the
clean blue sky of the new summer, and in the thickness of the
shiny green leaves of the trees hopped and twittered the busy
Hurstwood had come out of his own home that morning feeling much
of the same old annoyance. At his store he had idled, there
being no need to write. He had come away to this place with the
lightness of heart which characterises those who put weariness
behind. Now, in the shade of this cool, green bush, he looked
about him with the fancy of the lover. He heard the carts go
lumbering by upon the neighbouring streets, but they were far
off, and only buzzed upon his ear. The hum of the surrounding
city was faint, the clang of an occasional bell was as music. He
looked and dreamed a new dream of pleasure which concerned his
present fixed condition not at all. He got back in fancy to the
old Hurstwood, who was neither married nor fixed in a solid
position for life. He remembered the light spirit in which he
once looked after the girls--how he had danced, escorted them
home, hung over their gates. He almost wished he was back there
again--here in this pleasant scene he felt as if he were wholly
At two Carrie came tripping along the walk toward him, rosy and
clean. She had just recently donned a sailor hat for the season
with a band of pretty white-dotted blue silk. Her skirt was of a
rich blue material, and her shirt waist matched it, with a thin-
stripe of blue upon a snow-white ground--stripes that were as
fine as hairs. Her brown shoes peeped occasionally from beneath
her skirt. She carried her gloves in her hand.
Hurstwood looked up at her with delight.
"You came, dearest," he said eagerly, standing to meet her and
taking her hand.
"Of course," she said, smiling; "did you think I wouldn't?"
"I didn't know," he replied.
He looked at her forehead, which was moist from her brisk walk.
Then he took out one of his own soft, scented silk handkerchiefs
and touched her face here and there.
"Now," he said affectionately, "you're all right."
They were happy in being near one another--in looking into each
other's eyes. Finally, when the long flush of delight had sub
sided, he said:
"When is Charlie going away again?"
"I don't know," she answered. "He says he has some things to do
for the house here now."
Hurstwood grew serious, and he lapsed into quiet thought. He
looked up after a time to say:
"Come away and leave him."
He turned his eyes to the boys with the boats, as if the request
were of little importance.
"Where would we go?" she asked in much the same manner, rolling
her gloves, and looking into a neighbouring tree.
"Where do you want to go?" he enquired.
There was something in the tone in which he said this which made
her feel as if she must record her feelings against any local
"We can't stay in Chicago," she replied.
He had no thought that this was in her mind--that any removal
would be suggested.
"Why not?" he asked softly.
"Oh, because," she said, "I wouldn't want to."
He listened to this with but dull perception of what it meant.
It had no serious ring to it. The question was not up for
"I would have to give up my position," he said.
The tone he used made it seem as if the matter deserved only
slight consideration. Carrie thought a little, the while
enjoying the pretty scene.
"I wouldn't like to live in Chicago and him here," she said,
thinking of Drouet.
"It's a big town, dearest," Hurstwood answered. "It would be as
good as moving to another part of the country to move to the
He had fixed upon that region as an objective point.
"Anyhow," said Carrie, "I shouldn't want to get married as long
as he is here. I wouldn't want to run away."
The suggestion of marriage struck Hurstwood forcibly. He saw
clearly that this was her idea--he felt that it was not to be
gotten over easily. Bigamy lightened the horizon of his shadowy
thoughts for a moment. He wondered for the life of him how it
would all come out. He could not see that he was making any
progress save in her regard. When he looked at her now, he
thought her beautiful. What a thing it was to have her love him,
even if it be entangling! She increased in value in his eyes
because of her objection. She was something to struggle for, and
that was everything. How different from the women who yielded
willingly! He swept the thought of them from his mind.
"And you don't know when he'll go away?" asked Hurstwood,
She shook her head.
"You're a determined little miss, aren't you?" he said, after a
few moments, looking up into her eyes.
She felt a wave of feeling sweep over her at this. It was pride
at what seemed his admiration--affection for the man who could
feel this concerning her.
"No," she said coyly, "but what can I do?"
Again he folded his hands and looked away over the lawn into the
"I wish," he said pathetically, "you would come to me. I don't
like to be away from you this way. What good is there in
waiting? You're not any happier, are you?"
"Happier!" she exclaimed softly, "you know better than that."
"Here we are then," he went on in the same tone, "wasting our
days. If you are not happy, do you think I am? I sit and write
to you the biggest part of the time. I'll tell you what,
Carrie," he exclaimed, throwing sudden force of expression into
his voice and fixing her with his eyes, "I can't live without
you, and that's all there is to it. Now," he concluded, showing
the palm of one of his white hands in a sort of at-an-end,
helpless expression, "what shall I do?"
This shifting of the burden to her appealed to Carrie. The
semblance of the load without the weight touched the woman's
"Can't you wait a little while yet?" she said tenderly. "I'll
try and find out when he's going."
"What good will it do?" he asked, holding the same strain of
"Well, perhaps we can arrange to go somewhere."
She really did not see anything clearer than before, but she was
getting into that frame of mind where, out of sympathy, a woman
Hurstwood did not understand. He was wondering how she was to be
persuaded--what appeal would move her to forsake Drouet. He
began to wonder how far her affection for him would carry her.
He was thinking of some question which would make her tell.
Finally he hit upon one of those problematical propositions which
often disguise our own desires while leading us to an
understanding of the difficulties which others make for us, and
so discover for us a way. It had not the slightest connection
with anything intended on his part, and was spoken at random
before he had given it a moment's serious thought.
"Carrie," he said, looking into her face and assuming a serious
look which he did not feel, "suppose I were to come to you next
week, or this week for that matter--to-night say--and tell you I
had to go away--that I couldn't stay another minute and wasn't
coming back any more--would you come with me?"
His sweetheart viewed him with the most affectionate glance, her
answer ready before the words were out of his mouth.
"Yes," she said.
"You wouldn't stop to argue or arrange?"
"Not if you couldn't wait."
He smiled when he saw that she took him seriously, and he thought
what a chance it would afford for a possible junket of a week or
two. He had a notion to tell her that he was joking and so brush
away her sweet seriousness, but the effect of it was too
delightful. He let it stand.
"Suppose we didn't have time to get married here?" he added, an
afterthought striking him.
"If we got married as soon as we got to the other end of the
journey it would be all right."
"I meant that," he said.
The morning seemed peculiarly bright to him now. He wondered
whatever could have put such a thought into his head. Impossible
as it was, he could not help smiling at its cleverness. It
showed how she loved him. There was no doubt in his mind now,
and he would find a way to win her.
"Well," he said, jokingly, "I'll come and get you one of these
evenings," and then he laughed.
"I wouldn't stay with you, though, if you didn't marry me,"
Carrie added reflectively.
"I don't want you to," he said tenderly, taking her hand.
She was extremely happy now that she understood. She loved him
the more for thinking that he would rescue her so. As for him,
the marriage clause did not dwell in his mind. He was thinking
that with such affection there could be no bar to his eventual
"Let's stroll about," he said gayly, rising and surveying all the
"All right," said Carrie.
They passed the young Irishman, who looked after them with
"'Tis a foine couple," he observed to himself. "They must be
A WITLESS ALADDIN--THE GATE TO THE WORLD
In the course of his present stay in Chicago, Drouet paid some
slight attention to the secret order to which he belonged.
During his last trip he had received a new light on its
"I tell you," said another drummer to him, "it's a great thing.
Look at Hazenstab. He isn't so deuced clever. Of course he's
got a good house behind him, but that won't do alone. I tell you
it's his degree. He's a way-up Mason, and that goes a long way.
He's got a secret sign that stands for something."
Drouet resolved then and there that he would take more interest
in such matters. So when he got back to Chicago he repaired to
his local lodge headquarters.
"I say, Drouet," said Mr. Harry Quincel, an individual who was
very prominent in this local branch of the Elks, "you're the man
that can help us out."
It was after the business meeting and things were going socially
with a hum. Drouet was bobbing around chatting and joking with a
score of individuals whom he knew.
"What are you up to?" he inquired genially, turning a smiling
face upon his secret brother.
"We're trying to get up some theatricals for two weeks from to-
day, and we want to know if you don't know some young lady who
could take a part--it's an easy part."
"Sure," said Drouet, "what is it?" He did not trouble to remember
that he knew no one to whom he could appeal on this score. His
innate good-nature, however, dictated a favourable reply.
"Well, now, I'll tell you what we are trying to do," went on Mr.
Quincel. "We are trying to get a new set of furniture for the
lodge. There isn't enough money in the treasury at the present
time, and we thought we would raise it by a little
"Sure," interrupted Drouet, "that's a good idea."
"Several of the boys around here have got talent. There's Harry
Burbeck, he does a fine black-face turn. Mac Lewis is all right
at heavy dramatics. Did you ever hear him recite 'Over the
"Well, I tell you, he does it fine."
"And you want me to get some woman to take a part?" questioned
Drouet, anxious to terminate the subject and get on to something
else. "What are you going to play?"
"'Under the Gaslight,'" said Mr. Quincel, mentioning Augustin
Daly's famous production, which had worn from a great public
success down to an amateur theatrical favourite, with many of the
troublesome accessories cut out and the dramatis personae reduced
to the smallest possible number.
Drouet had seen this play some time in the past.
"That's it," he said; "that's a fine play. It will go all right.
You ought to make a lot of money out of that."
"We think we'll do very well," Mr. Quincel replied. "Don't you
forget now," he concluded, Drouet showing signs of restlessness;
"some young woman to take the part of Laura."
"Sure, I'll attend to it."
He moved away, forgetting almost all about it the moment Mr.
Quincel had ceased talking. He had not even thought to ask the
time or place.
Drouet was reminded of his promise a day or two later by the
receipt of a letter announcing that the first rehearsal was set
for the following Friday evening, and urging him to kindly
forward the young lady's address at once, in order that the part
might be delivered to her.
"Now, who the deuce do I know?" asked the drummer reflectively,
scratching his rosy ear. "I don't know any one that knows
anything about amateur theatricals."
He went over in memory the names of a number of women he knew,
and finally fixed on one, largely because of the convenient
location of her home on the West Side, and promised himself that
as he came out that evening he would see her. When, however, he
started west on the car he forgot, and was only reminded of his
delinquency by an item in the "Evening News"--a small three-line
affair under the head of Secret Society Notes--which stated the
Custer Lodge of the Order of Elks would give a theatrical
performance in Avery Hall on the 16th, when "Under the Gaslight"
would be produced.
"George!" exclaimed Drouet, "I forgot that."
"What?" inquired Carrie.
They were at their little table in the room which might have been
used for a kitchen, where Carrie occasionally served a meal. To-
night the fancy had caught her, and the little table was spread
with a pleasing repast.
"Why, my lodge entertainment. They're going to give a play, and
they wanted me to get them some young lady to take a part."
"What is it they're going to play?"
"'Under the Gaslight.'"
"On the 16th."
"Well, why don't you?" asked Carrie.
"I don't know any one," he replied.
Suddenly he looked up.
"Say," he said, "how would you like to take the part?"
"Me?" said Carrie. "I can't act."
"How do you know?" questioned Drouet reflectively.
"Because," answered Carrie, "I never did."
Nevertheless, she was pleased to think he would ask. Her eyes
brightened, for if there was anything that enlisted her
sympathies it was the art of the stage.
True to his nature, Drouet clung to this idea as an easy way out.
"That's nothing. You can act all you have to down there."
"No, I can't," said Carrie weakly, very much drawn toward the
proposition and yet fearful.
"Yes, you can. Now, why don't you do it? They need some one, and
it will be lots of fun for you."
"Oh, no, it won't," said Carrie seriously.
"You'd like that. I know you would. I've seen you dancing
around here and giving imitations and that's why I asked you.
You're clever enough, all right."
"No, I'm not," said Carrie shyly.
"Now, I'll tell you what you do. You go down and see about it.
It'll be fun for you. The rest of the company isn't going to be
any good. They haven't any experience. What do they know about
He frowned as he thought of their ignorance.
"Hand me the coffee," he added.
"I don't believe I could act, Charlie," Carrie went on pettishly.
"You don't think I could, do you?"
"Sure. Out o' sight. I bet you make a hit. Now you want to go,
I know you do. I knew it when I came home. That's why I asked
"What is the play, did you say?"
"'Under the Gaslight.'"
"What part would they want me to take?"
"Oh, one of the heroines--I don't know."
"What sort of a play is it?"
"Well," said Drouet, whose memory for such things was not the
best, "it's about a girl who gets kidnapped by a couple of
crooks--a man and a woman that live in the slums. She had some
money or something and they wanted to get it. I don't know now
how it did go exactly."
"Don't you know what part I would have to take?"
"No, I don't, to tell the truth." He thought a moment. "Yes, I
do, too. Laura, that's the thing--you're to be Laura."
"And you can't remember what the part is like?"
"To save me, Cad, I can't," he answered. "I ought to, too; I've
seen the play enough. There's a girl in it that was stolen when
she was an infant--was picked off the street or something--and
she's the one that's hounded by the two old criminals I was
telling you about." He stopped with a mouthful of pie poised on a
fork before his face. "She comes very near getting drowned--no,
that's not it. I'll tell you what I'll do," he concluded
hopelessly, "I'll get you the book. I can't remember now for the
life of me."
"Well, I don't know," said Carrie, when he had concluded, her
interest and desire to shine dramatically struggling with her
timidity for the mastery. "I might go if you thought I'd do all
"Of course, you'll do," said Drouet, who, in his efforts to
enthuse Carrie, had interested himself. "Do you think I'd come
home here and urge you to do something that I didn't think you
would make a success of? You can act all right. It'll be good
"When must I go?" said Carrie, reflectively.
"The first rehearsal is Friday night. I'll get the part for you
"All right," said Carrie resignedly, "I'll do it, but if I make a
failure now it's your fault."
"You won't fail," assured Drouet. "Just act as you do around
here. Be natural. You're all right. I've often thought you'd
make a corking good actress."
"Did you really?" asked Carrie.
"That's right," said the drummer.
He little knew as he went out of the door that night what a
secret flame he had kindled in the bosom of the girl he left
behind. Carrie was possessed of that sympathetic, impressionable
nature which, ever in the most developed form, has been the glory
of the drama. She was created with that passivity of soul which
is always the mirror of the active world. She possessed an
innate taste for imitation and no small ability. Even without
practice, she could sometimes restore dramatic situations she had
witnessed by re-creating, before her mirror, the expressions of
the various faces taking part in the scene. She loved to
modulate her voice after the conventional manner of the
distressed heroine, and repeat such pathetic fragments as
appealed most to her sympathies. Of late, seeing the airy grace
of the ingenue in several well-constructed plays, she had been
moved to secretly imitate it, and many were the little movements
and expressions of the body in which she indulged from time to
time in the privacy of her chamber. On several occasions, when
Drouet had caught her admiring herself, as he imagined, in the
mirror, she was doing nothing more than recalling some little
grace of the mouth or the eyes which she had witnessed in
another. Under his airy accusation she mistook this for vanity
and accepted the blame with a faint sense of error, though, as a
matter of fact, it was nothing more than the first subtle
outcroppings of an artistic nature, endeavouring to re-create the
perfect likeness of some phase of beauty which appealed to her.
In such feeble tendencies, be it known, such outworking of desire
to reproduce life, lies the basis of all dramatic art.
Now, when Carrie heard Drouet's laudatory opinion of her dramatic
ability, her body tingled with satisfaction. Like the flame
which welds the loosened particles into a solid mass, his words
united those floating wisps of feeling which she had felt, but
never believed, concerning her possible ability, and made them
into a gaudy shred of hope. Like all human beings, she had a
touch of vanity. She felt that she could do things if she only
had a chance. How often had she looked at the well-dressed
actresses on the stage and wondered how she would look, how
delightful she would feel if only she were in their place. The
glamour, the tense situation, the fine clothes, the applause,
these had lured her until she felt that she, too, could act--that
she, too, could compel acknowledgment of power. Now she was told
that she really could--that little things she had done about the
house had made even him feel her power. It was a delightful
sensation while it lasted.
When Drouet was gone, she sat down in her rocking-chair by the
window to think about it. As usual, imagination exaggerated the
possibilities for her. It was as if he had put fifty cents in
her hand and she had exercised the thoughts of a thousand
dollars. She saw herself in a score of pathetic situations in
which she assumed a tremulous voice and suffering manner. Her
mind delighted itself with scenes of luxury and refinement,
situations in which she was the cynosure of all eyes, the arbiter
of all fates. As she rocked to and fro she felt the tensity of
woe in abandonment, the magnificence of wrath after deception,
the languour of sorrow after defeat. Thoughts of all the
charming women she had seen in plays--every fancy, every illusion
which she had concerning the stage--now came back as a returning
tide after the ebb. She built up feelings and a determination
which the occasion did not warrant.
Drouet dropped in at the lodge when he went down town, and
swashed around with a great AIR, as Quincel met him.
"Where is that young lady you were going to get for us?" asked
"I've got her," said Drouet.
"Have you?" said Quincel, rather surprised by his promptness;
"that's good. What's her address?" and he pulled out his
notebook in order to be able to send her part to her.
"You want to send her her part?" asked the drummer.
"Well, I'll take it. I'm going right by her house in the
"What did you say her address was? We only want it in case we
have any information to send her."
"Twenty-nine Ogden Place."
"And her name?"
"Carrie Madenda," said the drummer, firing at random. The lodge
members knew him to be single.
"That sounds like somebody that can act, doesn't it?" said
"Yes, it does."
He took the part home to Carrie and handed it to her with the
manner of one who does a favour.
"He says that's the best part. Do you think you can do it?"
"I don't know until I look it over. You know I'm afraid, now
that I've said I would."
"Oh, go on. What have you got to be afraid of? It's a cheap
company. The rest of them aren't as good as you are."
"Well, I'll see," said Carrie, pleased to have the part, for all
He sidled around, dressing and fidgeting before he arranged to
make his next remark.
"They were getting ready to print the programmes," he said, "and
I gave them the name of Carrie Madenda. Was that all right?"
"Yes, I guess so," said his companion, looking up at him. She
was thinking it was slightly strange.
"If you didn't make a hit, you know," he went on.
"Oh, yes," she answered, rather pleased now with his caution. It
was clever for Drouet.
"I didn't want to introduce you as my wife, because you'd feel
worse then if you didn't GO. They all know me so well. But
you'll GO all right. Anyhow, you'll probably never meet any of
"Oh, I don't care," said Carrie desperately. She was determined
now to have a try at the fascinating game.
Drouet breathed a sigh of relief. He had been afraid that he was
about to precipitate another conversation upon the marriage
The part of Laura, as Carrie found out when she began to examine
it, was one of suffering and tears. As delineated by Mr. Daly,
it was true to the most sacred traditions of melodrama as he
found it when he began his career. The sorrowful demeanour, the
tremolo music, the long, explanatory, cumulative addresses, all
"Poor fellow," read Carrie, consulting the text and drawing her
voice out pathetically. "Martin, be sure and give him a glass of
wine before he goes."
She was surprised at the briefness of the entire part, not
knowing that she must be on the stage while others were talking,
and not only be there, but also keep herself in harmony with the
dramatic movement of the scenes.
"I think I can do that, though," she concluded.
When Drouet came the next night, she was very much satisfied with
her day's study.
"Well, how goes it, Caddie?" he said.
"All right," she laughed. "I think I have it memorised nearly."
"That's good," he said. "Let's hear some of it."
"Oh, I don't know whether I can get up and say it off here," she
"Well, I don't know why you shouldn't. It'll be easier here than
it will there."
"I don't know about that," she answered.
Eventually she took off the ballroom episode with considerable
feeling, forgetting, as she got deeper in the scene, all about
Drouet, and letting herself rise to a fine state of feeling.
"Good," said Drouet; "fine, out o' sight! You're all right
Caddie, I tell you."
He was really moved by her excellent representation and the
general appearance of the pathetic little figure as it swayed and
finally fainted to the floor. He had bounded up to catch her,
and now held her laughing in his arms.
"Ain't you afraid you'll hurt yourself?" he asked.
"Not a bit."
"Well, you're a wonder. Say, I never knew you could do anything
"I never did, either," said Carrie merrily, her face flushed with
"Well, you can bet that you're all right," said Drouet. "You can
take my word for that. You won't fail."
A GLIMPSE THROUGH THE GATEWAY--HOPE LIGHTENS THE EYE
The, to Carrie, very important theatrical performance was to take
place at the Avery on conditions which were to make it more
noteworthy than was at first anticipated. The little dramatic
student had written to Hurstwood the very morning her part was
brought her that she was going to take part in a play.
"I really am," she wrote, feeling that he might take it as a
jest; "I have my part now, honest, truly."
Hurstwood smiled in an indulgent way as he read this.
"I wonder what it is going to be? I must see that."
He answered at once, making a pleasant reference to her ability.
"I haven't the slightest doubt you will make a success. You must
come to the park to-morrow morning and tell me all about it."
Carrie gladly complied, and revealed all the details of the
undertaking as she understood it.
"Well," he said, "that's fine. I'm glad to hear it. Of course,
you will do well, you're so clever."
He had truly never seen so much spirit in the girl before. Her
tendency to discover a touch of sadness had for the nonce
disappeared. As she spoke her eyes were bright, her cheeks red.
She radiated much of the pleasure which her undertakings gave
her. For all her misgivings--and they were as plentiful as the
moments of the day--she was still happy. She could not repress
her delight in doing this little thing which, to an ordinary
observer, had no importance at all.
Hurstwood was charmed by the development of the fact that the
girl had capabilities. There is nothing so inspiring in life as
the sight of a legitimate ambition, no matter how incipient. It
gives colour, force, and beauty to the possessor.
Carrie was now lightened by a touch of this divine afflatus. She
drew to herself commendation from her two admirers which she had
not earned. Their affection for her naturally heightened their
perception of what she was trying to do and their approval of
what she did. Her inexperience conserved her own exuberant
fancy, which ran riot with every straw of opportunity, making of
it a golden divining rod whereby the treasure of life was to be
"Let's see," said Hurstwood, "I ought to know some of the boys in
the lodge. I'm an Elk myself."
"Oh, you mustn't let him know I told you."
"That's so," said the manager.
"I'd like for you to be there, if you want to come, but I don't
see how you can unless he asks you."
"I'll be there," said Hurstwood affectionately. "I can fix it so
he won't know you told me. You leave it to me."
This interest of the manager was a large thing in itself for the
performance, for his standing among the Elks was something worth
talking about. Already he was thinking of a box with some
friends, and flowers for Carrie. He would make it a dress-suit
affair and give the little girl a chance.
Within a day or two, Drouet dropped into the Adams Street resort,
and he was at once spied by Hurstwood. It was at five in the
afternoon and the place was crowded with merchants, actors,
managers, politicians, a goodly company of rotund, rosy figures,
silk-hatted, starchy-bosomed, beringed and bescarfpinned to the
queen's taste. John L. Sullivan, the pugilist, was at one end of
the glittering bar, surrounded by a company of loudly dressed
sports, who were holding a most animated conversation. Drouet
came across the floor with a festive stride, a new pair of tan
shoes squeaking audibly at his progress.
"Well, sir," said Hurstwood, "I was wondering what had become of
you. I thought you had gone out of town again."
"If you don't report more regularly we'll have to cut you off the
"Couldn't help it," said the drummer, "I've been busy."
They strolled over toward the bar amid the noisy, shifting
company of notables. The dressy manager was shaken by the hand
three times in as many minutes.
"I hear your lodge is going to give a performance," observed
Hurstwood, in the most offhand manner.
"Yes, who told you?"
"No one," said Hurstwood. "They just sent me a couple of
tickets, which I can have for two dollars. Is it going to be any
"I don't know," replied the drummer. "They've been trying to get
me to get some woman to take a part."
"I wasn't intending to go," said the manager easily. "I'll
subscribe, of course. How are things over there?"
"All right. They're going to fit things up out of the proceeds."
"Well," said the manager, "I hope they make a success of it.
He did not intend to say any more. Now, if he should appear on
the scene with a few friends, he could say that he had been urged
to come along. Drouet had a desire to wipe out the possibility
"I think the girl is going to take a part in it," he said
abruptly, after thinking it over.
"You don't say so! How did that happen?"
"Well, they were short and wanted me to find them some one. I
told Carrie, and she seems to want to try."
"Good for her," said the manager. "It'll be a real nice affair.
Do her good, too. Has she ever had any experience?"
"Not a bit."
"Oh, well, it isn't anything very serious."
"She's clever, though," said Drouet, casting off any imputation
against Carrie's ability. "She picks up her part quick enough."
"You don't say so!" said the manager.
"Yes, sir; she surprised me the other night. By George, if she
"We must give her a nice little send-off," said the manager.
"I'll look after the flowers."
Drouet smiled at his good-nature.
"After the show you must come with me and we'll have a little
"I think she'll do all right," said Drouet.
"I want to see her. She's got to do all right. We'll make her,"
and the manager gave one of his quick, steely half-smiles, which
was a compound of good-nature and shrewdness.
Carrie, meanwhile, attended the first rehearsal. At this
performance Mr. Quincel presided, aided by Mr. Millice, a young
man who had some qualifications of past experience, which were
not exactly understood by any one. He was so experienced and so
business-like, however, that he came very near being rude--
failing to remember, as he did, that the individuals he was
trying to instruct were volunteer players and not salaried
"Now, Miss Madenda," he said, addressing Carrie, who stood in one
part uncertain as to what move to make, "you don't want to stand
like that. Put expression in your face. Remember, you are
troubled over the intrusion of the stranger. Walk so," and he
struck out across the Avery stage in almost drooping manner.
Carrie did not exactly fancy the suggestion, but the novelty of
the situation, the presence of strangers, all more or less
nervous, and the desire to do anything rather than make a
failure, made her timid. She walked in imitation of her mentor
as requested, inwardly feeling that there was something strangely
"Now, Mrs. Morgan," said the director to one young married woman
who was to take the part of Pearl, "you sit here. Now, Mr.
Bamberger, you stand here, so. Now, what is it you say?"
"Explain," said Mr. Bamberger feebly. He had the part of Ray,
Laura's lover, the society individual who was to waver in his
thoughts of marrying her, upon finding that she was a waif and a
nobody by birth.
"How is that--what does your text say?"
"Explain," repeated Mr. Bamberger, looking intently at his part.
"Yes, but it also says," the director remarked, "that you are to
look shocked. Now, say it again, and see if you can't look
"Explain!" demanded Mr. Bamberger vigorously.
"No, no, that won't do! Say it this way--EXPLAIN."
"Explain," said Mr. Bamberger, giving a modified imitation.
"That's better. Now go on."
"One night," resumed Mrs. Morgan, whose lines came next, "father
and mother were going to the opera. When they were crossing
Broadway, the usual crowd of children accosted them for alms--"
"Hold on," said the director, rushing forward, his arm extended.
"Put more feeling into what you are saying."
Mrs. Morgan looked at him as if she feared a personal assault.
Her eye lightened with resentment.
"Remember, Mrs. Morgan," he added, ignoring the gleam, but
modifying his manner, "that you're detailing a pathetic story.
You are now supposed to be telling something that is a grief to
you. It requires feeling, repression, thus: 'The usual crowd of
children accosted them for alms.'"
"All right," said Mrs. Morgan.
"Now, go on."
"As mother felt in her pocket for some change, her fingers
touched a cold and trembling hand which had clutched her purse."
"Very good," interrupted the director, nodding his head
"A pickpocket! Well!" exclaimed Mr. Bamberger, speaking the lines
that here fell to him.
"No, no, Mr. Bamberger," said the director, approaching, "not
that way. 'A pickpocket--well?' so. That's the idea."
"Don't you think," said Carrie weakly, noticing that it had not
been proved yet whether the members of the company knew their
lines, let alone the details of expression, "that it would be
better if we just went through our lines once to see if we know
them? We might pick up some points."
"A very good idea, Miss Madenda," said Mr. Quincel, who sat at
the side of the stage, looking serenely on and volunteering
opinions which the director did not heed.
"All right," said the latter, somewhat abashed, "it might be well
to do it." Then brightening, with a show of authority, "Suppose
we run right through, putting in as much expression as we can."
"Good," said Mr. Quincel.
"This hand," resumed Mrs. Morgan, glancing up at Mr. Bamberger
and down at her book, as the lines proceeded, "my mother grasped
in her own, and so tight that a small, feeble voice uttered an
exclamation of pain. Mother looked down, and there beside her
was a little ragged girl."
"Very good," observed the director, now hopelessly idle.
"The thief!" exclaimed Mr. Bamberger.
"Louder," put in the director, finding it almost impossible to
keep his hands off.
"The thief!" roared poor Bamberger.
"Yes, but a thief hardly six years old, with a face like an
angel's. 'Stop,' said my mother. 'What are you doing?'
"'Trying to steal,' said the child.
"'Don't you know that it is wicked to do so?' asked my father.
"'No,' said the girl, 'but it is dreadful to be hungry.'
"'Who told you to steal?' asked my mother.
"'She--there,' said the child, pointing to a squalid woman in a
doorway opposite, who fled suddenly down the street. 'That is
old Judas,' said the girl."
Mrs. Morgan read this rather flatly, and the director was in
despair. He fidgeted around, and then went over to Mr. Quincel.
"What do you think of them?" he asked.
"Oh, I guess we'll be able to whip them into shape," said the
latter, with an air of strength under difficulties.
"I don't know," said the director. "That fellow Bamberger
strikes me as being a pretty poor shift for a lover."
"He's all we've got," said Quincel, rolling up his eyes.
"Harrison went back on me at the last minute. Who else can we
"I don't know," said the director. "I'm afraid he'll never pick
At this moment Bamberger was exclaiming, "Pearl, you are joking
"Look at that now," said the director, whispering behind his
hand. "My Lord! what can you do with a man who drawls out a
sentence like that?"
"Do the best you can," said Quincel consolingly.
The rendition ran on in this wise until it came to where Carrie,
as Laura, comes into the room to explain to Ray, who, after
hearing Pearl's statement about her birth, had written the letter
repudiating her, which, however, he did not deliver. Bamberger
was just concluding the words of Ray, "I must go before she
returns. Her step! Too late," and was cramming the letter in his
pocket, when she began sweetly with:
"Miss--Miss Courtland," Bamberger faltered weakly.
Carrie looked at him a moment and forgot all about the company
present. She began to feel the part, and summoned an indifferent
smile to her lips, turning as the lines directed and going to a
window, as if he were not present. She did it with a grace which
was fascinating to look upon.
"Who is that woman?" asked the director, watching Carrie in her
little scene with Bamberger.
"Miss Madenda," said Quincel.
"I know her name," said the director, "but what does she do?"
"I don't know," said Quincel. "She's a friend of one of our
"Well, she's got more gumption than any one I've seen here so
far--seems to take an interest in what she's doing."
"Pretty, too, isn't she?" said Quincel.
The director strolled away without answering.
In the second scene, where she was supposed to face the company
in the ball-room, she did even better, winning the smile of the
director, who volunteered, because of her fascination for him, to
come over and speak with her.
"Were you ever on the stage?" he asked insinuatingly.
"No," said Carrie.
"You do so well, I thought you might have had some experience."
Carrie only smiled consciously.
He walked away to listen to Bamberger, who was feebly spouting
some ardent line.
Mrs. Morgan saw the drift of things and gleamed at Carrie with
envious and snapping black eyes.
"She's some cheap professional," she gave herself the
satisfaction of thinking, and scorned and hated her accordingly.
The rehearsal ended for one day, and Carrie went home feeling
that she had acquitted herself satisfactorily. The words of the
director were ringing in her ears, and she longed for an
opportunity to tell Hurstwood. She wanted him to know just how
well she was doing. Drouet, too, was an object for her
confidences. She could hardly wait until he should ask her, and
yet she did not have the vanity to bring it up. The drummer,
however, had another line of thought to-night, and her little
experience did not appeal to him as important. He let the
conversation drop, save for what she chose to recite without
solicitation, and Carrie was not good at that. He took it for
granted that she was doing very well and he was relieved of
further worry. Consequently he threw Carrie into repression,
which was irritating. She felt his indifference keenly and
longed to see Hurstwood. It was as if he were now the only
friend she had on earth. The next morning Drouet was interested
again, but the damage had been done.
She got a pretty letter from the manager, saying that by the time
she got it he would be waiting for her in the park. When she
came, he shone upon her as the morning sun.
"Well, my dear," he asked, "how did you come out?"
"Well enough," she said, still somewhat reduced after Drouet.
"Now, tell me just what you did. Was it pleasant?"
Carrie related the incidents of the rehearsal, warming up as she
"Well, that's delightful," said Hurstwood. "I'm so glad. I must
get over there to see you. When is the next rehearsal?"
"Tuesday," said Carrie, "but they don't allow visitors."
"I imagine I could get in," said Hurstwood significantly.
She was completely restored and delighted by his consideration,
but she made him promise not to come around.
"Now, you must do your best to please me," he said encouragingly.
"Just remember that I want you to succeed. We will make the
performance worth while. You do that now."
"I'll try," said Carrie, brimming with affection and enthusiasm.
"That's the girl," said Hurstwood fondly. "Now, remember,"
shaking an affectionate finger at her, "your best."
"I will," she answered, looking back.
The whole earth was brimming sunshine that morning. She tripped
along, the clear sky pouring liquid blue into her soul. Oh,
blessed are the children of endeavour in this, that they try and
are hopeful. And blessed also are they who, knowing, smile and
JUST OVER THE BORDER--A HAIL AND FAREWELL
By the evening of the 16th the subtle hand of Hurstwood had made
itself apparent. He had given the word among his friends--and
they were many and influential--that here was something which
they ought to attend, and, as a consequence, the sale of tickets
by Mr. Quincel, acting for the lodge, had been large. Small
four-line notes had appeared in all of the daily newspapers.
These he had arranged for by the aid of one of his newspaper
friends on the "Times," Mr. Harry McGarren, the managing editor.
"Say, Harry," Hurstwood said to him one evening, as the latter
stood at the bar drinking before wending his belated way
homeward, "you can help the boys out, I guess."
"What is it?" said McGarren, pleased to be consulted by the
"The Custer Lodge is getting up a little entertainment for their
own good, and they'd like a little newspaper notice. You know
what I mean--a squib or two saying that it's going to take
"Certainly," said McGarren, "I can fix that for you, George."
At the same time Hurstwood kept himself wholly in the background.
The members of Custer Lodge could scarcely understand why their
little affair was taking so well. Mr. Harry Quincel was looked
upon as quite a star for this sort of work.
By the time the 16th had arrived Hurstwood's friends had rallied
like Romans to a senator's call. A well-dressed, good-natured,
flatteringly-inclined audience was assured from the moment he
thought of assisting Carrie.
That little student had mastered her part to her own
satisfaction, much as she trembled for her fate when she should
once face the gathered throng, behind the glare of the
footlights. She tried to console herself with the thought that a
score of other persons, men and women, were equally tremulous
concerning the outcome of their efforts, but she could not
disassociate the general danger from her own individual
liability. She feared that she would forget her lines, that she
might be unable to master the feeling which she now felt
concerning her own movements in the play. At times she wished
that she had never gone into the affair; at others, she trembled
lest she should be paralysed with fear and stand white and
gasping, not knowing what to say and spoiling the entire
In the matter of the company, Mr. Bamberger had disappeared.
That hopeless example had fallen under the lance of the
director's criticism. Mrs. Morgan was still present, but envious
and determined, if for nothing more than spite, to do as well as
Carrie at least. A loafing professional had been called in to
assume the role of Ray, and, while he was a poor stick of his
kind, he was not troubled by any of those qualms which attack the
spirit of those who have never faced an audience. He swashed
about (cautioned though he was to maintain silence concerning his
past theatrical relationships) in such a self-confident manner
that he was like to convince every one of his identity by mere
matter of circumstantial evidence.
"It is so easy," he said to Mrs. Morgan, in the usual affected
stage voice. "An audience would be the last thing to trouble me.
It's the spirit of the part, you know, that is difficult."
Carrie disliked his appearance, but she was too much the actress
not to swallow his qualities with complaisance, seeing that she
must suffer his fictitious love for the evening.
At six she was ready to go. Theatrical paraphernalia had been
provided over and above her care. She had practised her make-up
in the morning, had rehearsed and arranged her material for the
evening by one o'clock, and had gone home to have a final look at
her part, waiting for the evening to come.
On this occasion the lodge sent a carriage. Drouet rode with her
as far as the door, and then went about the neighbouring stores,
looking for some good cigars. The little actress marched
nervously into her dressing-room and began that painfully
anticipated matter of make-up which was to transform her, a
simple maiden, to Laura, The Belle of Society.
The flare of the gas-jets, the open trunks, suggestive of travel
and display, the scattered contents of the make-up box--rouge,
pearl powder, whiting, burnt cork, India ink, pencils for the
eye-lids, wigs, scissors, looking-glasses, drapery--in short, all
the nameless paraphernalia of disguise, have a remarkable
atmosphere of their own. Since her arrival in the city many
things had influenced her, but always in a far-removed manner.
This new atmosphere was more friendly. It was wholly unlike the
great brilliant mansions which waved her coldly away, permitting
her only awe and distant wonder. This took her by the hand
kindly, as one who says, "My dear, come in." It opened for her as
if for its own. She had wondered at the greatness of the names
upon the bill-boards, the marvel of the long notices in the
papers, the beauty of the dresses upon the stage, the atmosphere
of carriages, flowers, refinement. Here was no illusion. Here
was an open door to see all of that. She had come upon it as one
who stumbles upon a secret passage and, behold, she was in the
chamber of diamonds and delight!
As she dressed with a flutter, in her little stage room, hearing
the voices outside, seeing Mr. Quincel hurrying here and there,
noting Mrs. Morgan and Mrs. Hoagland at their nervous work of
preparation, seeing all the twenty members of the cast moving
about and worrying over what the result would be, she could not
help thinking what a delight this would be if it would endure;
how perfect a state, if she could only do well now, and then some
time get a place as a real actress. The thought had taken a
mighty hold upon her. It hummed in her ears as the melody of an
Outside in the little lobby another scene was begin enacted.
Without the interest of Hurstwood, the little hall would probably
have been comfortably filled, for the members of the lodge were
moderately interested in its welfare. Hurstwood's word, however,
had gone the rounds. It was to be a full-dress affair. The four
boxes had been taken. Dr. Norman McNeill Hale and his wife were
to occupy one. This was quite a card. C. R. Walker, dry-goods
merchant and possessor of at least two hundred thousand dollars,
had taken another; a well-known coal merchant had been induced to
take the third, and Hurstwood and his friends the fourth. Among
the latter was Drouet. The people who were now pouring here were
not celebrities, nor even local notabilities, in a general sense.
They were the lights of a certain circle--the circle of small
fortunes and secret order distinctions. These gentlemen Elks
knew the standing of one another. They had regard for the
ability which could amass a small fortune, own a nice home, keep
a barouche or carriage, perhaps, wear fine clothes, and maintain
a good mercantile position. Naturally, Hurstwood, who was a
little above the order of mind which accepted this standard as
perfect, who had shrewdness and much assumption of dignity, who
held an imposing and authoritative position, and commanded
friendship by intuitive tact in handling people, was quite a
figure. He was more generally known than most others in the same
circle, and was looked upon as some one whose reserve covered a
mine of influence and solid financial prosperity.
To-night he was in his element. He came with several friends
directly from Rector's in a carriage. In the lobby he met
Drouet, who was just returning from a trip for more cigars. All
five now joined in an animated conversation concerning the
company present and the general drift of lodge affairs.
"Who's here?" said Hurstwood, passing into the theatre proper,
where the lights were turned up and a company of gentlemen were
laughing and talking in the open space back of the seats.
"Why, how do you do, Mr. Hurstwood?" came from the first
"Glad to see you," said the latter, grasping his hand lightly.
"Looks quite an affair, doesn't it?"
"Yes, indeed," said the manager.
"Custer seems to have the backing of its members," observed the
"So it should," said the knowing manager. "I'm glad to see it."
"Well, George," said another rotund citizen, whose avoirdupois
made necessary an almost alarming display of starched shirt
bosom, "how goes it with you?"
"Excellent," said the manager.
"What brings you over here? You're not a member of Custer."
"Good-nature," returned the manager. "Like to see the boys, you
"She couldn't come to-night. She's not well."
"Sorry to hear it--nothing serious, I hope."
"No, just feeling a little ill."
"I remember Mrs. Hurstwood when she was travelling once with you
over to St. Joe--" and here the newcomer launched off in a
trivial recollection, which was terminated by the arrival of more
"Why, George, how are you?" said another genial West Side
politician and lodge member. "My, but I'm glad to see you again;
how are things, anyhow?"
"Very well; I see you got that nomination for alderman."
"Yes, we whipped them out over there without much trouble."
"What do you suppose Hennessy will do now?"
"Oh, he'll go back to his brick business. He has a brick-yard,
"I didn't know that," said the manager. "Felt pretty sore, I
suppose, over his defeat."
"Perhaps," said the other, winking shrewdly.
Some of the more favoured of his friends whom he had invited
began to roll up in carriages now. They came shuffling in with a
great show of finery and much evident feeling of content and
"Here we are," said Hurstwood, turning to one from a group with
whom he was talking.
"That's right," returned the newcomer, a gentleman of about
"And say," he whispered, jovially, pulling Hurstwood over by the
shoulder so that he might whisper in his ear, "if this isn't a
good show, I'll punch your head."
"You ought to pay for seeing your old friends. Bother the show!"
To another who inquired, "Is it something really good?" the
"I don't know. I don't suppose so." Then, lifting his hand
graciously, "For the lodge."
"Lots of boys out, eh?"
"Yes, look up Shanahan. He was just asking for you a moment
It was thus that the little theatre resounded to a babble of
successful voices, the creak of fine clothes, the commonplace of
good-nature, and all largely because of this man's bidding. Look
at him any time within the half hour before the curtain was up,
he was a member of an eminent group--a rounded company of five or
more whose stout figures, large white bosoms, and shining pins
bespoke the character of their success. The gentlemen who
brought their wives called him out to shake hands. Seats
clicked, ushers bowed while he looked blandly on. He was
evidently a light among them, reflecting in his personality the
ambitions of those who greeted him. He was acknowledged, fawned
upon, in a way lionised. Through it all one could see the
standing of the man. It was greatness in a way, small as it was.
AN HOUR IN ELFLAND--A CLAMOUR HALF HEARD
At last the curtain was ready to go up. All the details of the
make-up had been completed, and the company settled down as the
leader of the small, hired orchestra tapped significantly upon
his music rack with his baton and began the soft curtain-raising
strain. Hurstwood ceased talking, and went with Drouet and his
friend Sagar Morrison around to the box.
"Now, we'll see how the little girl does," he said to Drouet, in
a tone which no one else could hear.
On the stage, six of the characters had already appeared in the
opening parlour scene. Drouet and Hurstwood saw at a glance that
Carrie was not among them, and went on talking in a whisper.
Mrs. Morgan, Mrs. Hoagland, and the actor who had taken
Bamberger's part were representing the principal roles in this
scene. The professional, whose name was Patton, had little to
recommend him outside of his assurance, but this at the present
moment was most palpably needed. Mrs. Morgan, as Pearl, was
stiff with fright. Mrs. Hoagland was husky in the throat. The
whole company was so weak-kneed that the lines were merely
spoken, and nothing more. It took all the hope and uncritical
good-nature of the audience to keep from manifesting pity by that
unrest which is the agony of failure.
Hurstwood was perfectly indifferent. He took it for granted that
it would be worthless. All he cared for was to have it endurable
enough to allow for pretension and congratulation afterward.
After the first rush of fright, however, the players got over the
danger of collapse. They rambled weakly forward, losing nearly
all the expression which was intended, and making the thing dull
in the extreme, when Carrie came in.
One glance at her, and both Hurstwood and Drouet saw plainly that
she also was weak-kneed. She came faintly across the stage,
"And you, sir; we have been looking for you since eight o'clock,"
but with so little colour and in such a feeble voice that it was
"She's frightened," whispered Drouet to Hurstwood.
The manager made no answer.
She had a line presently which was supposed to be funny.
"Well, that's as much as to say that I'm a sort of life pill."
It came out so flat, however, that it was a deathly thing.
Drouet fidgeted. Hurstwood moved his toe the least bit.
There was another place in which Laura was to rise and, with a
sense of impending disaster, say, sadly:
"I wish you hadn't said that, Pearl. You know the old proverb,
'Call a maid by a married name.'"
The lack of feeling in the thing was ridiculous. Carrie did not
get it at all. She seemed to be talking in her sleep. It looked
as if she were certain to be a wretched failure. She was more
hopeless than Mrs. Morgan, who had recovered somewhat, and was
now saying her lines clearly at least. Drouet looked away from
the stage at the audience. The latter held out silently, hoping
for a general change, of course. Hurstwood fixed his eye on
Carrie, as if to hypnotise her into doing better. He was pouring
determination of his own in her direction. He felt sorry for
In a few more minutes it fell to her to read the letter sent in
by the strange villain. The audience had been slightly diverted
by a conversation between the professional actor and a character
called Snorky, impersonated by a short little American, who
really developed some humour as a half-crazed, one-armed soldier,
turned messenger for a living. He bawled his lines out with such
defiance that, while they really did not partake of the humour
intended, they were funny. Now he was off, however, and it was
back to pathos, with Carrie as the chief figure. She did not
recover. She wandered through the whole scene between herself
and the intruding villain, straining the patience of the
audience, and finally exiting, much to their relief.
"She's too nervous," said Drouet, feeling in the mildness of the
remark that he was lying for once.
"Better go back and say a word to her."
Drouet was glad to do anything for relief. He fairly hustled
around to the side entrance, and was let in by the friendly door-
keeper. Carrie was standing in the wings, weakly waiting her
next cue, all the snap and nerve gone out of her.
"Say, Cad," he said, looking at her, "you mustn't be nervous.
Wake up. Those guys out there don't amount to anything. What
are you afraid of?"
"I don't know," said Carrie. "I just don't seem to be able to do
She was grateful for the drummer's presence, though. She had
found the company so nervous that her own strength had gone.
"Come on," said Drouet. "Brace up. What are you afraid of? Go
on out there now, and do the trick. What do you care?"
Carrie revived a little under the drummer's electrical, nervous
"Did I do so very bad?"
"Not a bit. All you need is a little more ginger. Do it as you
showed me. Get that toss of your head you had the other night."
Carrie remembered her triumph in the room. She tried to think
she could to it.
'What's next?" he said, looking at her part, which she had been
"Why, the scene between Ray and me when I refuse him."
"Well, now you do that lively," said the drummer. "Put in snap,
that's the thing. Act as if you didn't care."
"Your turn next, Miss Madenda," said the prompter.
"Oh, dear," said Carrie.
"Well, you're a chump for being afraid," said Drouet. "Come on
now, brace up. I'll watch you from right here."
"Will you?" said Carrie.
"Yes, now go on. Don't be afraid."
The prompter signalled her.
She started out, weak as ever, but suddenly her nerve partially
returned. She thought of Drouet looking.
"Ray," she said, gently, using a tone of voice much more calm
than when she had last appeared. It was the scene which had
pleased the director at the rehearsal.
"She's easier," thought Hurstwood to himself.
She did not do the part as she had at rehearsal, but she was
better. The audience was at least not irritated. The
improvement of the work of the entire company took away direct
observation from her. They were making very fair progress, and
now it looked as if the play would be passable, in the less
trying parts at least.
Carrie came off warm and nervous.
"Well," she said, looking at him, "was it any better?"
"Well, I should say so. That's the way. Put life into it. You
did that about a thousand per cent. better than you did the
other scene. Now go on and fire up. You can do it. Knock 'em."
"Was it really better?"
"Better, I should say so. What comes next?"
"That ballroom scene."
"Well, you can do that all right," he said.
"I don't know," answered Carrie.
"Why, woman," he exclaimed, "you did it for me! Now you go out
there and do it. It'll be fun for you. Just do as you did in
the room. If you'll reel it off that way, I'll bet you make a
hit. Now, what'll you bet? You do it."
The drummer usually allowed his ardent good-nature to get the
better of his speech. He really did think that Carrie had acted
this particular scene very well, and he wanted her to repeat it
in public. His enthusiasm was due to the mere spirit of the
When the time came, he buoyed Carrie up most effectually. He
began to make her feel as if she had done very well. The old
melancholy of desire began to come back as he talked at her, and
by the time the situation rolled around she was running high in
"I think I can do this."
"Sure you can. Now you go ahead and see."
On the stage, Mrs. Van Dam was making her cruel insinuation
Carrie listened, and caught the infection of something--she did
not know what. Her nostrils sniffed thinly.
"It means," the professional actor began, speaking as Ray, "that
society is a terrible avenger of insult. Have you ever heard of
the Siberian wolves? When one of the pack falls through weakness,
the others devour him. It is not an elegant comparison, but
there is something wolfish in society. Laura has mocked it with
a pretence, and society, which is made up of pretence, will
bitterly resent the mockery."
At the sound of her stage name Carrie started. She began to feel
the bitterness of the situation. The feelings of the outcast
descended upon her. She hung at the wing's edge, wrapt in her
own mounting thoughts. She hardly heard anything more, save her
own rumbling blood.
"Come, girls," said Mrs. Van Dam, solemnly, "let us look after
our things. They are no longer safe when such an accomplished
"Cue," said the prompter, close to her side, but she did not
hear. Already she was moving forward with a steady grace, born
of inspiration. She dawned upon the audience, handsome and
proud, shifting, with the necessity of the situation, to a cold,
white, helpless object, as the social pack moved away from her
Hurstwood blinked his eyes and caught the infection. The
radiating waves of feeling and sincerity were already breaking
against the farthest walls of the chamber. The magic of passion,
which will yet dissolve the world, was here at work.
There was a drawing, too, of attention, a riveting of feeling,
"Ray! Ray! Why do you not come back to her?" was the cry of
Every eye was fixed on Carrie, still proud and scornful. They
moved as she moved. Their eyes were with her eyes.
Mrs. Morgan, as Pearl, approached her.
"Let us go home," she said.
"No," answered Carrie, her voice assuming for the first time a
penetrating quality which it had never known. "Stay with him!"
She pointed an almost accusing hand toward her lover. Then, with
a pathos which struck home because of its utter simplicity, "He
shall not suffer long."
Hurstwood realised that he was seeing something extraordinarily
good. It was heightened for him by the applause of the audience
as the curtain descended and the fact that it was Carrie. He
thought now that she was beautiful. She had done something which
was above his sphere. He felt a keen delight in realising that
she was his.
"Fine," he said, and then, seized by a sudden impulse, arose and
went about to the stage door.
When he came in upon Carrie she was still with Drouet. His
feelings for her were most exuberant. He was almost swept away
by the strength and feeling she exhibited. His desire was to
pour forth his praise with the unbounded feelings of a lover, but
here was Drouet, whose affection was also rapidly reviving. The
latter was more fascinated, if anything, than Hurstwood. At
least, in the nature of things, it took a more ruddy form.
"Well, well," said Drouet, "you did out of sight. That was
simply great. I knew you could do it. Oh, but you're a little
Carrie's eyes flamed with the light of achievement.
"Did I do all right?"
"Did you? Well, I guess. Didn't you hear the applause?"
There was some faint sound of clapping yet.
"I thought I got it something like--I felt it."
Just then Hurstwood came in. Instinctively he felt the change in
Drouet. He saw that the drummer was near to Carrie, and jealousy
leaped alight in his bosom. In a flash of thought, he reproached
himself for having sent him back. Also, he hated him as an
intruder. He could scarcely pull himself down to the level where
he would have to congratulate Carrie as a friend. Nevertheless,
the man mastered himself, and it was a triumph. He almost jerked
the old subtle light to his eyes.
"I thought," he said, looking at Carrie, "I would come around and
tell you how well you did, Mrs. Drouet. It was delightful."
Carrie took the cue, and replied:
"Oh, thank you."
"I was just telling her," put in Drouet, now delighted with his
possession, "that I thought she did fine."
"Indeed you did," said Hurstwood, turning upon Carrie eyes in
which she read more than the words.
Carrie laughed luxuriantly.
"If you do as well in the rest of the play, you will make us all
think you are a born actress."
Carrie smiled again. She felt the acuteness of Hurstwood's
position, and wished deeply that she could be alone with him, but
she did not understand the change in Drouet. Hurstwood found
that he could not talk, repressed as he was, and grudging Drouet
every moment of his presence, he bowed himself out with the
elegance of a Faust. Outside he set his teeth with envy.
"Damn it!" he said, "is he always going to be in the way?" He was
moody when he got back to the box, and could not talk for
thinking of his wretched situation.
As the curtain for the next act arose, Drouet came back. He was
very much enlivened in temper and inclined to whisper, but
Hurstwood pretended interest. He fixed his eyes on the stage,
although Carrie was not there, a short bit of melodramatic comedy
preceding her entrance. He did not see what was going on,
however. He was thinking his own thoughts, and they were
The progress of the play did not improve matters for him.
Carrie, from now on, was easily the centre of interest. The
audience, which had been inclined to feel that nothing could be
good after the first gloomy impression, now went to the other
extreme and saw power where it was not. The general feeling
reacted on Carrie. She presented her part with some felicity,
though nothing like the intensity which had aroused the feeling
at the end of the long first act.
Both Hurstwood and Drouet viewed her pretty figure with rising
feelings. The fact that such ability should reveal itself in
her, that they should see it set forth under such effective
circumstances, framed almost in massy gold and shone upon by the
appropriate lights of sentiment and personality, heightened her
charm for them. She was more than the old Carrie to Drouet. He
longed to be at home with her until he could tell her. He
awaited impatiently the end, when they should go home alone.
Hurstwood, on the contrary, saw in the strength of her new
attractiveness his miserable predicament. He could have cursed
the man beside him. By the Lord, he could not even applaud
feelingly as he would. For once he must simulate when it left a
taste in his mouth.
It was in the last act that Carrie's fascination for her lovers
assumed its most effective character.
Hurstwood listened to its progress, wondering when Carrie would
come on. He had not long to wait. The author had used the
artifice of sending all the merry company for a drive, and now
Carrie came in alone. It was the first time that Hurstwood had
had a chance to see her facing the audience quite alone, for
nowhere else had she been without a foil of some sort. He
suddenly felt, as she entered, that her old strength--the power
that had grasped him at the end of the first act--had come back.
She seemed to be gaining feeling, now that the play was drawing
to a close and the opportunity for great action was passing.
"Poor Pearl," she said, speaking with natural pathos. "It is a
sad thing to want for happiness, but it is a terrible thing to
see another groping about blindly for it, when it is almost
within the grasp."
She was gazing now sadly out upon the open sea, her arm resting
listlessly upon the polished door-post.
Hurstwood began to feel a deep sympathy for her and for himself.
He could almost feel that she was talking to him. He was, by a
combination of feelings and entanglements, almost deluded by that
quality of voice and manner which, like a pathetic strain of
music, seems ever a personal and intimate thing. Pathos has this
quality, that it seems ever addressed to one alone.
"And yet, she can be very happy with him," went on the little
actress. "Her sunny temper, her joyous face will brighten any
She turned slowly toward the audience without seeing. There was
so much simplicity in her movements that she seemed wholly alone.
Then she found a seat by a table, and turned over some books,
devoting a thought to them.
"With no longings for what I may not have," she breathed in
conclusion--and it was almost a sigh--"my existence hidden from
all save two in the wide world, and making my joy out of the joy
of that innocent girl who will soon be his wife."
Hurstwood was sorry when a character, known as Peach Blossom,
interrupted her. He stirred irritably, for he wished her to go
on. He was charmed by the pale face, the lissome figure, draped
in pearl grey, with a coiled string of pearls at the throat.
Carrie had the air of one who was weary and in need of
protection, and, under the fascinating make-believe of the
moment, he rose in feeling until he was ready in spirit to go to
her and ease her out of her misery by adding to his own delight.
In a moment Carrie was alone again, and was saying, with
"I must return to the city, no matter what dangers may lurk here.
I must go, secretly if I can; openly, if I must."
There was a sound of horses' hoofs outside, and then Ray's voice
"No, I shall not ride again. Put him up."
He entered, and then began a scene which had as much to do with
the creation of the tragedy of affection in Hurstwood as anything
in his peculiar and involved career. For Carrie had resolved to
make something of this scene, and, now that the cue had come, it
began to take a feeling hold upon her. Both Hurstwood and Drouet
noted the rising sentiment as she proceeded.
"I thought you had gone with Pearl," she said to her lover.
"I did go part of the way, but I left the Party a mile down the
"You and Pearl had no disagreement?"
"No--yes; that is, we always have. Our social barometers always
stand at 'cloudy' and 'overcast.'"
"And whose fault is that?" she said, easily.
"Not mine," he answered, pettishly. "I know I do all I can--I
say all I can--but she----"
This was rather awkwardly put by Patton, but Carrie redeemed it
with a grace which was inspiring.
"But she is your wife," she said, fixing her whole attention upon
the stilled actor, and softening the quality of her voice until
it was again low and musical. "Ray, my friend, courtship is the
text from which the whole sermon of married life takes its theme.
Do not let yours be discontented and unhappy."
She put her two little hands together and pressed them
Hurstwood gazed with slightly parted lips. Drouet was fidgeting
"To be my wife, yes," went on the actor in a manner which was
weak by comparison, but which could not now spoil the tender
atmosphere which Carrie had created and maintained. She did not
seem to feel that he was wretched. She would have done nearly as
well with a block of wood. The accessories she needed were
within her own imagination. The acting of others could not
"And you repent already?" she said, slowly.
"I lost you," he said, seizing her little hand, "and I was at the
mercy of any flirt who chose to give me an inviting look. It was
your fault--you know it was--why did you leave me?"
Carrie turned slowly away, and seemed to be mastering some
impulse in silence. Then she turned back.
"Ray," she said, "the greatest happiness I have ever felt has
been the thought that all your affection was forever bestowed
upon a virtuous woman, your equal in family, fortune, and
accomplishments. What a revelation do you make to me now! What
is it makes you continually war with your happiness?"
The last question was asked so simply that it came to the
audience and the lover as a personal thing.
At last it came to the part where the lover exclaimed, "Be to me
as you used to be."
Carrie answered, with affecting sweetness, "I cannot be that to
you, but I can speak in the spirit of the Laura who is dead to
"Be it as you will," said Patton.
Hurstwood leaned forward. The whole audience was silent and
"Let the woman you look upon be wise or vain," said Carrie, her
eyes bent sadly upon the lover, who had sunk into a seat,
"beautiful or homely, rich or poor, she has but one thing she can
really give or refuse--her heart."
Drouet felt a scratch in his throat.
"Her beauty, her wit, her accomplishments, she may sell to you;
but her love is the treasure without money and without price."
The manager suffered this as a personal appeal. It came to him
as if they were alone, and he could hardly restrain the tears for
sorrow over the hopeless, pathetic, and yet dainty and appealing
woman whom he loved. Drouet also was beside himself. He was
resolving that he would be to Carrie what he had never been
before. He would marry her, by George! She was worth it.
"She asks only in return," said Carrie, scarcely hearing the
small, scheduled reply of her lover, and putting herself even
more in harmony with the plaintive melody now issuing from the
orchestra, "that when you look upon her your eyes shall speak
devotion; that when you address her your voice shall be gentle,
loving, and kind; that you shall not despise her because she
cannot understand all at once your vigorous thoughts and
ambitious designs; for, when misfortune and evil have defeated
your greatest purposes, her love remains to console you. You
look to the trees," she continued, while Hurstwood restrained his
feelings only by the grimmest repression, "for strength and
grandeur; do not despise the flowers because their fragrance is
all they have to give. Remember," she concluded, tenderly, "love
is all a woman has to give," and she laid a strange, sweet accent
on the all, "but it is the only thing which God permits us to
carry beyond the grave."
The two men were in the most harrowed state of affection. They
scarcely heard the few remaining words with which the scene
concluded. They only saw their idol, moving about with appealing
grace, continuing a power which to them was a revelation.
Hurstwood resolved a thousands things, Drouet as well. They
joined equally in the burst of applause which called Carrie out.
Drouet pounded his hands until they ached. Then he jumped up
again and started out. As he went, Carrie came out, and, seeing
an immense basket of flowers being hurried down the aisle toward
her she waited. They were Hurstwood's. She looked toward the
manager's box for a moment, caught his eye, and smiled. He could
have leaped out of the box to enfold her. He forgot the need of
circumspectness which his married state enforced. He almost
forgot that he had with him in the box those who knew him. By
the Lord, he would have that lovely girl if it took his all. He
would act at once. This should be the end of Drouet, and don't
you forget it. He would not wait another day. The drummer
should not have her.
He was so excited that he could not stay in the box. He went
into the lobby, and then into the street, thinking. Drouet did
not return. In a few minutes the last act was over, and he was
crazy to have Carrie alone. He cursed the luck that could keep
him smiling, bowing, shamming, when he wanted to tell her that he
loved her, when he wanted to whisper to her alone. He groaned as
he saw that his hopes were futile. He must even take her to
supper, shamming. He finally went about and asked how she was
getting along. The actors were all dressing, talking, hurrying
about. Drouet was palavering himself with the looseness of
excitement and passion. The manager mastered himself only by a
"We are going to supper, of course," he said, with a voice that
was a mockery of his heart.
"Oh, yes," said Carrie, smiling.
The little actress was in fine feather. She was realising now
what it was to be petted. For once she was the admired, the
sought-for. The independence of success now made its first faint
showing. With the tables turned, she was looking down, rather
than up, to her lover. She did not fully realise that this was
so, but there was something in condescension coming from her
which was infinitely sweet. When she was ready they climbed into
the waiting coach and drove down town; once, only, did she find
an opportunity to express her feeling, and that was when the
manager preceded Drouet in the coach and sat beside her. Before
Drouet was fully in she had squeezed Hurstwood's hand in a
gentle, impulsive manner. The manager was beside himself with
affection. He could have sold his soul to be with her alone.
"Ah," he thought, "the agony of it."
Drouet hung on, thinking he was all in all. The dinner was
spoiled by his enthusiasm. Hurstwood went home feeling as if he
should die if he did not find affectionate relief. He whispered
"to-morrow" passionately to Carrie, and she understood. He
walked away from the drummer and his prize at parting feeling as
if he could slay him and not regret. Carrie also felt the misery
"Good-night," he said, simulating an easy friendliness.
"Good-night," said the little actress, tenderly.
"The fool!" he said, now hating Drouet. "The idiot! I'll do him
yet, and that quick! We'll see to-morrow."
"Well, if you aren't a wonder," Drouet was saying, complacently,
squeezing Carrie's arm. "You are the dandiest little girl on
THE LURE OF THE SPIRIT--THE FLESH IN PURSUIT
Passion in a man of Hurstwood's nature takes a vigorous form. It
is no musing, dreamy thing. There is none of the tendency to
sing outside of my lady's window--to languish and repine in the
face of difficulties. In the night he was long getting to sleep
because of too much thinking, and in the morning he was early
awake, seizing with alacrity upon the same dear subject and
pursuing it with vigour. He was out of sorts physically, as well
as disordered mentally, for did he not delight in a new manner in
his Carrie, and was not Drouet in the way? Never was man more
harassed than he by the thoughts of his love being held by the
elated, flush-mannered drummer. He would have given anything, it
seemed to him, to have the complication ended--to have Carrie
acquiesce to an arrangement which would dispose of Drouet
effectually and forever.
What to do. He dressed thinking. He moved about in the same
chamber with his wife, unmindful of her presence.
At breakfast he found himself without an appetite. The meat to
which he helped himself remained on his plate untouched. His
coffee grew cold, while he scanned the paper indifferently. Here
and there he read a little thing, but remembered nothing.
Jessica had not yet come down. His wife sat at one end of the
table revolving thoughts of her own in silence. A new servant
had been recently installed and had forgot the napkins. On this
account the silence was irritably broken by a reproof.
"I've told you about this before, Maggie," said Mrs. Hurstwood.
"I'm not going to tell you again."
Hurstwood took a glance at his wife. She was frowning. Just now
her manner irritated him excessively. Her next remark was
addressed to him.
"Have you made up your mind, George, when you will take your
It was customary for them to discuss the regular summer outing at