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  • 1900
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all Parts of the City.”

He adjusted his paper very comfortably and continued. It was the one thing he read with absorbing interest.

Chapter XLII


Those who look upon Hurstwood’s Brooklyn venture as an error of judgment will none the less realise the negative influence on him of the fact that he had tried and failed. Carrie got a wrong idea of it. He said so little that she imagined he had encountered nothing worse than the ordinary roughness–quitting so soon in the face of this seemed trifling. He did not want to work.

She was now one of a group of oriental beauties who, in the second act of the comic opera, were paraded by the vizier before the new potentate as the treasures of his harem. There was no word assigned to any of them, but on the evening when Hurstwood was housing himself in the loft of the street-car barn, the leading comedian and star, feeling exceedingly facetious, said in a profound voice, which created a ripple of laughter:

“Well, who are you?”

It merely happened to be Carrie who was courtesying before him. It might as well have been any of the others, so far as he was concerned. He expected no answer and a dull one would have been reproved. But Carrie, whose experience and belief in herself gave her daring, courtesied sweetly again and answered:

“I am yours truly.”

It was a trivial thing to say, and yet something in the way she did it caught the audience, which laughed heartily at the mock- fierce potentate towering before the young woman. The comedian also liked it, hearing the laughter.

“I thought your name was Smith,” he returned, endeavouring to get the last laugh.

Carrie almost trembled for her daring after she had said this. All members of the company had been warned that to interpolate lines or “business” meant a fine or worse. She did not know what to think.

As she was standing in her proper position in the wings, awaiting another entry, the great comedian made his exit past her and paused in recognition.

“You can just leave that in hereafter,” he remarked, seeing how intelligent she appeared. “Don’t add any more, though.”

“Thank you,” said Carrie, humbly. When he went on she found herself trembling violently.

“Well, you’re in luck,” remarked another member of the chorus. “There isn’t another one of us has got a line.”

There was no gainsaying the value of this. Everybody in the company realised that she had got a start. Carrie hugged herself when next evening the lines got the same applause. She went home rejoicing, knowing that soon something must come of it. It was Hurstwood who, by his presence, caused her merry thoughts to flee and replaced them with sharp longings for an end of distress.

The next day she asked him about his venture.

“They’re not trying to run any cars except with police. They don’t want anybody just now–not before next week.”

Next week came, but Carrie saw no change. Hurstwood seemed more apathetic than ever. He saw her off mornings to rehearsals and the like with the utmost calm. He read and read. Several times he found himself staring at an item, but thinking of something else. The first of these lapses that he sharply noticed concerned a hilarious party he had once attended at a driving club, of which he had been a member. He sat, gazing downward, and gradually thought he heard the old voices and the clink of glasses.

“You’re a dandy, Hurstwood,” his friend Walker said. He was standing again well dressed, smiling, good-natured, the recipient of encores for a good story.

All at once he looked up. The room was so still it seemed ghostlike. He heard the clock ticking audibly and half suspected that he had been dozing. The paper was so straight in his hands, however, and the items he had been reading so directly before him, that he rid himself of the doze idea. Still, it seemed peculiar. When it occurred a second time, however, it did not seem quite so strange.

Butcher and grocery man, baker and coal man–not the group with whom he was then dealing, but those who had trusted him to the limit–called. He met them all blandly, becoming deft in excuse. At last he became bold, pretended to be out, or waved them off.

“They can’t get blood out of a turnip,” he said. “if I had it I’d pay them.”

Carrie’s little soldier friend, Miss Osborne, seeing her succeeding, had become a sort of satellite. Little Osborne could never of herself amount to anything. She seemed to realise it in a sort of pussy-like way and instinctively concluded to cling with her soft little claws to Carrie.

“Oh, you’ll get up,” she kept telling Carrie with admiration. “You’re so good.”

Timid as Carrie was, she was strong in capability. The reliance of others made her feel as if she must, and when she must she dared. Experience of the world and of necessity was in her favour. No longer the lightest word of a man made her head dizzy. She had learned that men could change and fail. Flattery in its most palpable form had lost its force with her. It required superiority–kindly superiority–to move her–the superiority of a genius like Ames.

“I don’t like the actors in our company,” she told Lola one day. “They’re all so struck on themselves.”

“Don’t you think Mr. Barclay’s pretty nice?” inquired Lola, who had received a condescending smile or two from that quarter.

“Oh, he’s nice enough,” answered Carrie; “but he isn’t sincere. He assumes such an air.”

Lola felt for her first hold upon Carrie in the following manner:

“Are you paying room-rent where you are?”

“Certainly,” answered Carrie. “Why?”

“I know where I could get the loveliest room and bath, cheap. It’s too big for me, but it would be just right for two, and the rent is only six dollars a week for both.”

“Where?” said Carrie.

“In Seventeenth Street.”

“Well, I don’t know as I’d care to change,” said Carrie, who was already turning over the three-dollar rate in her mind. She was thinking if she had only herself to support this would leave her seventeen for herself.

Nothing came of this until after the Brooklyn adventure of Hurstwood’s and her success with the speaking part. Then she began to feel as if she must be free. She thought of leaving Hurstwood and thus making him act for himself, but he had developed such peculiar traits she feared he might resist any effort to throw him off. He might hunt her out at the show and hound her in that way. She did not wholly believe that he would, but he might. This, she knew, would be an embarrassing thing if he made himself conspicuous in any way. It troubled her greatly.

Things were precipitated by the offer of a better part. One of the actresses playing the part of a modest sweetheart gave notice of leaving and Carrie was selected.

“How much are you going to get?” asked Miss Osborne, on hearing the good news.

“I didn’t ask him,” said Carrie.

“Well, find out. Goodness, you’ll never get anything if you don’t ask. Tell them you must have forty dollars, anyhow.”

“Oh, no,” said Carrie.

“Certainly!” exclaimed Lola. “Ask ’em, anyway.”

Carrie succumbed to this prompting, waiting, however, until the manager gave her notice of what clothing she must have to fit the part.

“How much do I get?” she inquired.

“Thirty-five dollars,” he replied.

Carrie was too much astonished and delighted to think of mentioning forty. She was nearly beside herself, and almost hugged Lola, who clung to her at the news.

“It isn’t as much as you ought to get,” said the latter, “especially when you’ve got to buy clothes.”

Carrie remembered this with a start. Where to get the money? She had none laid up for such an emergency. Rent day was drawing near.

“I’ll not do it,” she said, remembering her necessity. “I don’t use the flat. I’m not going to give up my money this time. I’ll move.”

Fitting into this came another appeal from Miss Osborne, more urgent than ever.

“Come live with me, won’t you?” she pleaded. “We can have the loveliest room. It won’t cost you hardly anything that way.”

“I’d like to,” said Carrie, frankly.

“Oh, do,” said Lola. “We’ll have such a good time.”

Carrie thought a while.

“I believe I will,” she said, and then added: “I’ll have to see first, though.”
With the idea thus grounded, rent day approaching, and clothes calling for instant purchase, she soon found excuse in Hurstwood’s lassitude. He said less and drooped more than ever.

As rent day approached, an idea grew in him. It was fostered by the demands of creditors and the impossibility of holding up many more. Twenty-eight dollars was too much for rent. “It’s hard on her,” he thought. “We could get a cheaper place.”

Stirred with this idea, he spoke at the breakfast table.

“Don’t you think we pay too much rent here?” he asked.

“Indeed I do,” said Carrie, not catching his drift.

“I should think we could get a smaller place,” he suggested. “We don’t need four rooms.”

Her countenance, had he been scrutinising her, would have exhibited the disturbance she felt at this evidence of his determination to stay by her. He saw nothing remarkable in asking her to come down lower.

“Oh, I don’t know,” she answered, growing wary.

“There must be places around here where we could get a couple of rooms, which would do just as well.”

Her heart revolted. “Never!” she thought. Who would furnish the money to move? To think of being in two rooms with him! She resolved to spend her money for clothes quickly, before something terrible happened. That very day she did it. Having done so, there was but one other thing to do.

“Lola,” she said, visiting her friend, “I think I’ll come.”

“Oh, jolly!” cried the latter.

“Can we get it right away?” she asked, meaning the room.

“Certainly,” cried Lola.

They went to look at it. Carrie had saved ten dollars from her expenditures–enough for this and her board beside. Her enlarged salary would not begin for ten days yet–would not reach her for seventeen. She paid half of the six dollars with her friend.

“Now, I’ve just enough to get on to the end of the week,” she confided.

“Oh, I’ve got some,” said Lola. “I’ve got twenty-five dollars, if you need it.”

“No,” said Carrie. “I guess I’ll get along.”

They decided to move Friday, which was two days away. Now that the thing was settled, Carrie’s heart misgave her. She felt very much like a criminal in the matter. Each day looking at Hurstwood, she had realised that, along with the disagreeableness of his attitude, there was something pathetic.

She looked at him the same evening she had made up her mind to go, and now he seemed not so shiftless and worthless, but run down and beaten upon by chance. His eyes were not keen, his face marked, his hands flabby. She thought his hair had a touch of grey. All unconscious of his doom, he rocked and read his paper, while she glanced at him.

Knowing that the end was so near, she became rather solicitous.

“Will you go over and get some canned peaches?” she asked Hurstwood, laying down a two-dollar bill.

“Certainly,” he said, looking in wonder at the money.

“See if you can get some nice asparagus,” she added. “I’ll cook it for dinner.”

Hurstwood rose and took the money, slipping on his overcoat and getting his hat. Carrie noticed that both of these articles of apparel were old and poor looking in appearance. It was plain enough before, but now it came home with peculiar force. Perhaps he couldn’t help it, after all. He had done well in Chicago. She remembered his fine appearance the days he had met her in the park. Then he was so sprightly, so clean. Had it been all his fault?

He came back and laid the change down with the food.

“You’d better keep it,” she observed. “We’ll need other things.”

“No,” he said, with a sort of pride; “you keep it.”

“Oh, go on and keep it,” she replied, rather unnerved. “There’ll be other things.”

He wondered at this, not knowing the pathetic figure he had become in her eyes. She restrained herself with difficulty from showing a quaver in her voice.

To say truly, this would have been Carrie’s attitude in any case. She had looked back at times upon her parting from Drouet and had regretted that she had served him so badly. She hoped she would never meet him again, but she was ashamed of her conduct. Not that she had any choice in the final separation. She had gone willingly to seek him, with sympathy in her heart, when Hurstwood had reported him ill. There was something cruel somewhere, and not being able to track it mentally to its logical lair, she concluded with feeling that he would never understand what Hurstwood had done and would see hard-hearted decision in her deed; hence her shame. Not that she cared for him. She did not want to make any one who had been good to her feel badly.

She did not realise what she was doing by allowing these feelings to possess her. Hurstwood, noticing the kindness, conceived better of her. “Carrie’s good-natured, anyhow,” he thought.

Going to Miss Osborne’s that afternoon, she found that little lady packing and singing.

“Why don’t you come over with me today?” she asked.

“Oh, I can’t,” said Carrie. “I’ll be there Friday. Would you mind lending me the twenty-five dollars you spoke of?”

“Why, no,” said Lola, going for her purse.

“I want to get some other things,” said Carrie.

“Oh, that’s all right,” answered the little girl, good-naturedly, glad to be of service.
It had been days since Hurstwood had done more than go to the grocery or to the news-stand. Now the weariness of indoors was upon him–had been for two days–but chill, grey weather had held him back. Friday broke fair and warm. It was one of those lovely harbingers of spring, given as a sign in dreary winter that earth is not forsaken of warmth and beauty. The blue heaven, holding its one golden orb, poured down a crystal wash of warm light. It was plain, from the voice of the sparrows, that all was halcyon outside. Carrie raised the front windows, and felt the south wind blowing.

“It’s lovely out to-day,” she remarked.

“Is it?” said Hurstwood.

After breakfast, he immediately got his other clothes.

“Will you be back for lunch?” asked Carrie nervously.

“No,” he said.

He went out into the streets and tramped north, along Seventh Avenue, idly fixing upon the Harlem River as an objective point. He had seen some ships up there, the time he had called upon the brewers. He wondered how the territory thereabouts was growing.

Passing Fifty-ninth Street, he took the west side of Central Park, which he followed to Seventy-eighth Street. Then he remembered the neighbourhood and turned over to look at the mass of buildings erected. It was very much improved. The great open spaces were filling up. Coming back, he kept to the Park until 110th Street, and then turned into Seventh Avenue again, reaching the pretty river by one o’clock.

There it ran winding before his gaze, shining brightly in the clear light, between the undulating banks on the right and the tall, tree-covered heights on the left. The spring-like atmosphere woke him to a sense of its loveliness, and for a few moments he stood looking at it, folding his hands behind his back. Then he turned and followed it toward the east side, idly seeking the ships he had seen. It was four o’clock before the waning day, with its suggestion of a cooler evening, caused him to return. He was hungry and would enjoy eating in the warm room.

When he reached the flat by half-past five, it was still dark. He knew that Carrie was not there, not only because there was no light showing through the transom, but because the evening papers were stuck between the outside knob and the door. He opened with his key and went in. Everything was still dark. Lighting the gas, he sat down, preparing to wait a little while. Even if Carrie did come now, dinner would be late. He read until six, then got up to fix something for himself.

As he did so, he noticed that the room seemed a little queer. What was it? He looked around, as if he missed something, and then saw an envelope near where he had been sitting. It spoke for itself, almost without further action on his part.

Reaching over, he took it, a sort of chill settling upon him even while he reached. The crackle of the envelope in his hands was loud. Green paper money lay soft within the note.

“Dear George,” he read, crunching the money in one hand, “I’m going away. I’m not coming back any more. It’s no use trying to keep up the flat; I can’t do it. I wouldn’t mind helping you, if I could, but I can’t support us both, and pay the rent. I need what little I make to pay for my clothes. I’m leaving twenty dollars. It’s all I have just now. You can do whatever you like with the furniture. I won’t want it.–CARRIE.

He dropped the note and looked quietly round. Now he knew what he missed. It was the little ornamental clock, which was hers. It had gone from the mantelpiece. He went into the front room, his bedroom, the parlour, lighting the gas as he went. From the chiffonier had gone the knick-knacks of silver and plate. From the table-top, the lace coverings. He opened the wardrobe–no clothes of hers. He opened the drawers–nothing of hers. Her trunk was gone from its accustomed place. Back in his own room hung his old clothes, just as he had left them. Nothing else was gone.

He stepped into the parlour and stood for a few moments looking vacantly at the floor. The silence grew oppressive. The little flat seemed wonderfully deserted. He wholly forgot that he was hungry, that it was only dinner-time. It seemed later in the night.

Suddenly, he found that the money was still in his hands. There were twenty dollars in all, as she had said. Now he walked back, leaving the lights ablaze, and feeling as if the flat were empty.

“I’ll get out of this,” he said to himself.

Then the sheer loneliness of his situation rushed upon him in full.

“Left me!” he muttered, and repeated, “left me!”

The place that had been so comfortable, where he had spent so many days of warmth, was now a memory. Something colder and chillier confronted him. He sank down in his chair, resting his chin in his hand–mere sensation, without thought, holding him.

Then something like a bereaved affection and self-pity swept over him.

“She needn’t have gone away,” he said. “I’d have got something.”

He sat a long while without rocking, and added quite clearly, out loud:

“I tried, didn’t I?”

At midnight he was still rocking, staring at the floor.

Chapter XLIII


Installed in her comfortable room, Carrie wondered how Hurstwood had taken her departure. She arranged a few things hastily and then left for the theatre, half expecting to encounter him at the door. Not finding him, her dread lifted, and she felt more kindly toward him. She quite forgot him until about to come out, after the show, when the chance of his being there frightened her. As day after day passed and she heard nothing at all, the thought of being bothered by him passed. In a little while she was, except for occasional thoughts, wholly free of the gloom with which her life had been weighed in the flat.

It is curious to note how quickly a profession absorbs one. Carrie became wise in theatrical lore, hearing the gossip of little Lola. She learned what the theatrical papers were, which ones published items about actresses and the like. She began to read the newspaper notices, not only of the opera in which she had so small a part, but of others. Gradually the desire for notice took hold of her. She longed to be renowned like others, and read with avidity all the complimentary or critical comments made concerning others high in her profession. The showy world in which her interest lay completely absorbed her.

It was about this time that the newspapers and magazines were beginning to pay that illustrative attention to the beauties of the stage which has since become fervid. The newspapers, and particularly the Sunday newspapers, indulged in large decorative theatrical pages, in which the faces and forms of well-known theatrical celebrities appeared, enclosed with artistic scrolls. The magazines also or at least one or two of the newer ones– published occasional portraits of pretty stars, and now and again photos of scenes from various plays. Carrie watched these with growing interest. When would a scene from her opera appear? When would some paper think her photo worth while?

The Sunday before taking her new part she scanned the theatrical pages for some little notice. It would have accorded with her expectations if nothing had been said, but there in the squibs, tailing off several more substantial items, was a wee notice. Carrie read it with a tingling body:

“The part of Katisha, the country maid, in ‘The Wives of Abdul’ at the Broadway, heretofore played by Inez Carew, will be hereafter filled by Carrie Madenda, one of the cleverest members of the chorus.”

Carrie hugged herself with delight. Oh, wasn’t it just fine! At last! The first, the long-hoped for, the delightful notice! And they called her clever. She could hardly restrain herself from laughing loudly. Had Lola seen it?

“They’ve got a notice here of the part I’m going to play to- morrow night,” said Carrie to her friend.

“Oh, jolly! Have they?” cried Lola, running to her. “That’s all right,” she said, looking. “You’ll get more now, if you do well. I had my picture in the ‘World’ once.”

“Did you?” asked Carrie.

“Did I? Well, I should say,” returned the little girl. “They had a frame around it.”

Carrie laughed.

“They’ve never published my picture.”

“But they will,” said Lola. “You’ll see. You do better than most that get theirs in now.”

Carrie felt deeply grateful for this. She almost loved Lola for the sympathy and praise she extended. It was so helpful to her– so almost necessary.

Fulfilling her part capably brought another notice in the papers that she was doing her work acceptably. This pleased her immensely. She began to think the world was taking note of her.

The first week she got her thirty-five dollars, it seemed an enormous sum. Paying only three dollars for room rent seemed ridiculous. After giving Lola her twenty-five, she still had seven dollars left. With four left over from previous earnings, she had eleven. Five of this went to pay the regular installment on the clothes she had to buy. The next week she was even in greater feather. Now, only three dollars need be paid for room rent and five on her clothes. The rest she had for food and her own whims.

“You’d better save a little for summer,” cautioned Lola. “We’ll probably close in May.”

“I intend to,” said Carrie.

The regular entrance of thirty-five dollars a week to one who has endured scant allowances for several years is a demoralising thing. Carrie found her purse bursting with good green bills of comfortable denominations. Having no one dependent upon her, she began to buy pretty clothes and pleasing trinkets, to eat well, and to ornament her room. Friends were not long in gathering about. She met a few young men who belonged to Lola’s staff. The members of the opera company made her acquaintance without the formality of introduction. One of these discovered a fancy for her. On several occasions he strolled home with her.

“Let’s stop in and have a rarebit,” he suggested one midnight.

“Very well,” said Carrie.

In the rosy restaurant, filled with the merry lovers of late hours, she found herself criticising this man. He was too stilted, too self-opinionated. He did not talk of anything that lifted her above the common run of clothes and material success. When it was all over, he smiled most graciously.

“Got to go straight home, have you?” he said.

“Yes,” she answered, with an air of quiet understanding.

“She’s not so inexperienced as she looks,” he thought, and thereafter his respect and ardour were increased.

She could not help sharing in Lola’s love for a good time. There were days when they went carriage riding, nights when after the show they dined, afternoons when they strolled along Broadway, tastefully dressed. She was getting in the metropolitan whirl of pleasure.

At last her picture appeared in one of the weeklies. She had not known of it, and it took her breath. “Miss Carrie Madenda,” it was labelled. “One of the favourites of ‘The Wives of Abdul’ company.” At Lola’s advice she had had some pictures taken by Sarony. They had got one there. She thought of going down and buying a few copies of the paper, but remembered that there was no one she knew well enough to send them to. Only Lola, apparently, in all the world was interested.

The metropolis is a cold place socially, and Carrie soon found that a little money brought her nothing. The world of wealth and distinction was quite as far away as ever. She could feel that there was no warm, sympathetic friendship back of the easy merriment with which many approached her. All seemed to be seeking their own amusement, regardless of the possible sad consequence to others. So much for the lessons of Hurstwood and Drouet.

In April she learned that the opera would probably last until the middle or the end of May, according to the size of the audiences. Next season it would go on the road. She wondered if she would be with it. As usual, Miss Osborne, owing to her moderate salary, was for securing a home engagement.

“They’re putting on a summer play at the Casino,” she announced, after figuratively putting her ear to the ground. “Let’s try and get in that.”

“I’m willing,” said Carrie.

They tried in time and were apprised of the proper date to apply again. That was May 16th. Meanwhile their own show closed May 5th.

“Those that want to go with the show next season,” said the manager, “will have to sign this week.”

“Don’t you sign,” advised Lola. “I wouldn’t go.”

“I know,” said Carrie, “but maybe I can’t get anything else.”

“Well, I won’t,” said the little girl, who had a resource in her admirers. “I went once and I didn’t have anything at the end of the season.”

Carrie thought this over. She had never been on the road.

“We can get along,” added Lola. “I always have.”

Carrie did not sign.

The manager who was putting on the summer skit at the Casino had never heard of Carrie, but the several notices she had received, her published picture, and the programme bearing her name had some little weight with him. He gave her a silent part at thirty dollars a week.

“Didn’t I tell you?” said Lola. “It doesn’t do you any good to go away from New York. They forget all about you if you do.”

Now, because Carrie was pretty, the gentlemen who made up the advance illustrations of shows about to appear for the Sunday papers selected Carrie’s photo along with others to illustrate the announcement. Because she was very pretty, they gave it excellent space and drew scrolls about it. Carrie was delighted. Still, the management did not seem to have seen anything of it. At least, no more attention was paid to her than before. At the same time there seemed very little in her part. It consisted of standing around in all sorts of scenes, a silent little Quakeress. The author of the skit had fancied that a great deal could be made of such a part, given to the right actress, but now, since it had been doled out to Carrie, he would as leave have had it cut out.

“Don’t kick, old man,” remarked the manager. “If it don’t go the first week we will cut it out.”

Carrie had no warning of this halcyon intention. She practised her part ruefully, feeling that she was effectually shelved. At the dress rehearsal she was disconsolate.

“That isn’t so bad,” said the author, the manager noting the curious effect which Carrie’s blues had upon the part. “Tell her to frown a little more when Sparks dances.”

Carrie did not know it, but there was the least show of wrinkles between her eyes and her mouth was puckered quaintly.

“Frown a little more, Miss Madenda,” said the stage manager.

Carrie instantly brightened up, thinking he had meant it as a rebuke.

“No; frown,” he said. “Frown as you did before.”

Carrie looked at him in astonishment.

“I mean it,” he said. “Frown hard when Mr. Sparks dances. I want to see how it looks.”

It was easy enough to do. Carrie scowled. The effect was something so quaint and droll it caught even the manager.

“That is good,” he said. “If she’ll do that all through, I think it will take.”

Going over to Carrie, he said:

“Suppose you try frowning all through. Do it hard. Look mad. It’ll make the part really funny.”

On the opening night it looked to Carrie as if there were nothing to her part, after all. The happy, sweltering audience did not seem to see her in the first act. She frowned and frowned, but to no effect. Eyes were riveted upon the more elaborate efforts of the stars.

In the second act, the crowd, wearied by a dull conversation, roved with its eyes about the stage and sighted her. There she was, grey-suited, sweet-faced, demure, but scowling. At first the general idea was that she was temporarily irritated, that the look was genuine and not fun at all. As she went on frowning, looking now at one principal and now at the other, the audience began to smile. The portly gentlemen in the front rows began to feel that she was a delicious little morsel. It was the kind of frown they would have loved to force away with kisses. All the gentlemen yearned toward her. She was capital.

At last, the chief comedian, singing in the centre of the stage, noticed a giggle where it was not expected. Then another and another. When the place came for loud applause it was only moderate. What could be the trouble? He realised that something was up.

All at once, after an exit, he caught sight of Carrie. She was frowning alone on the stage and the audience was giggling and laughing.

“By George, I won’t stand that!” thought the thespian. “I’m not going to have my work cut up by some one else. Either she quits that when I do my turn or I quit.”

“Why, that’s all right,” said the manager, when the kick came. “That’s what she’s supposed to do. You needn’t pay any attention to that.”

“But she ruins my work.”

“No, she don’t,” returned the former, soothingly. “It’s only a little fun on the side.”

“It is, eh?” exclaimed the big comedian. “She killed my hand all right. I’m not going to stand that.”

“Well, wait until after the show. Wait until to-morrow. We’ll see what we can do.”

The next act, however, settled what was to be done. Carrie was the chief feature of the play. The audience, the more it studied her, the more it indicated its delight. Every other feature paled beside the quaint, teasing, delightful atmosphere which Carrie contributed while on the stage. Manager and company realised she had made a hit.

The critics of the daily papers completed her triumph. There were long notices in praise of the quality of the burlesque, touched with recurrent references to Carrie. The contagious mirth of the thing was repeatedly emphasised.

“Miss Madenda presents one of the most delightful bits of character work ever seen on the Casino stage,” observed the stage critic of the “Sun.” “It is a bit of quiet, unassuming drollery which warms like good wine. Evidently the part was not intended to take precedence, as Miss Madenda is not often on the stage, but the audience, with the characteristic perversity of such bodies, selected for itself. The little Quakeress was marked for a favourite the moment she appeared, and thereafter easily held attention and applause. The vagaries of fortune are indeed curious.”

The critic of the “Evening World,” seeking as usual to establish a catch phrase which should “go” with the town, wound up by advising: “If you wish to be merry, see Carrie frown.”

The result was miraculous so far as Carrie’s fortune was concerned. Even during the morning she received a congratulatory message from the manager.

“You seem to have taken the town by storm,” he wrote. “This is delightful. I am as glad for your sake as for my own.”

The author also sent word.

That evening when she entered the theatre the manager had a most pleasant greeting for her.

“Mr. Stevens,” he said, referring to the author, “is preparing a little song, which he would like you to sing next week.”

“Oh, I can’t sing,” returned Carrie.

“It isn’t anything difficult. ‘It’s something that is very simple,’ he says, ‘and would suit you exactly.'”

“Of course, I wouldn’t mind trying,” said Carrie, archly.

“Would you mind coming to the box-office a few moments before you dress?” observed the manager, in addition. “There’s a little matter I want to speak to you about.”

“Certainly,” replied Carrie.

In that latter place the manager produced a paper.

“Now, of course,” he said, “we want to be fair with you in the matter of salary. Your contract here only calls for thirty dollars a week for the next three months. How would it do to make it, say, one hundred and fifty a week and extend it for twelve months?”

“Oh, very well,” said Carrie, scarcely believing her ears.

“Supposing, then, you just sign this.”

Carrie looked and beheld a new contract made out like the other one, with the exception of the new figures of salary and time. With a hand trembling from excitement she affixed her name.

“One hundred and fifty a week!” she murmured, when she was again alone. She found, after all–as what millionaire has not?–that there was no realising, in consciousness, the meaning of large sums. It was only a shimmering, glittering phrase in which lay a world of possibilities.

Down in a third-rate Bleecker Street hotel, the brooding Hurstwood read the dramatic item covering Carrie’s success, without at first realising who was meant. Then suddenly it came to him and he read the whole thing over again.

“That’s her, all right, I guess,” he said.

Then he looked about upon a dingy, moth-eaten hotel lobby.

“I guess she’s struck it,” he thought, a picture of the old shiny, plush-covered world coming back, with its lights, its ornaments, its carriages, and flowers. Ah, she was in the walled city now! Its splendid gates had opened, admitting her from a cold, dreary outside. She seemed a creature afar off–like every other celebrity he had known.

“Well, let her have it,” he said. “I won’t bother her.”

It was the grim resolution of a bent, bedraggled, but unbroken pride.

Chapter XLIV


When Carrie got back on the stage, she found that over night her dressing-room had been changed.

“You are to use this room, Miss Madenda,” said one of the stage lackeys.

No longer any need of climbing several flights of steps to a small coop shared with another. Instead, a comparatively large and commodious chamber with conveniences not enjoyed by the small fry overhead. She breathed deeply and with delight. Her sensations were more physical than mental. In fact, she was scarcely thinking at all. Heart and body were having their say.

Gradually the deference and congratulation gave her a mental appreciation of her state. She was no longer ordered, but requested, and that politely. The other members of the cast looked at her enviously as she came out arrayed in her simple habit, which she wore all through the play. All those who had supposedly been her equals and superiors now smiled the smile of sociability, as much as to say: “How friendly we have always been.” Only the star comedian whose part had been so deeply injured stalked by himself. Figuratively, he could not kiss the hand that smote him.

Doing her simple part, Carrie gradually realised the meaning of the applause which was for her, and it was sweet. She felt mildly guilty of something–perhaps unworthiness. When her associates addressed her in the wings she only smiled weakly. The pride and daring of place were not for her. It never once crossed her mind to be reserved or haughty–to be other than she had been. After the performances she rode to her room with Lola, in a carriage provided.

Then came a week in which the first fruits of success were offered to her lips–bowl after bowl. It did not matter that her splendid salary had not begun. The world seemed satisfied with the promise. She began to get letters and cards. A Mr. Withers– whom she did not know from Adam–having learned by some hook or crook where she resided, bowed himself politely in.

“You will excuse me for intruding,” he said; “but have you been thinking of changing your apartments?”

“I hadn’t thought of it,” returned Carrie.

“Well, I am connected with the Wellington–the new hotel on Broadway. You have probably seen notices of it in the papers.”

Carrie recognised the name as standing for one of the newest and most imposing hostelries. She had heard it spoken of as having a splendid restaurant.

“Just so,” went on Mr. Withers, accepting her acknowledgment of familiarity. “We have some very elegant rooms at present which we would like to have you look at, if you have not made up your mind where you intend to reside for the summer. Our apartments are perfect in every detail–hot and cold water, private baths, special hall service for every floor, elevators, and all that. You know what our restaurant is.”

Carrie looked at him quietly. She was wondering whether he took her to be a millionaire.

“What are your rates?” she inquired.

“Well, now, that is what I came to talk with you privately about. Our regular rates are anywhere from three to fifty dollars a day.”

“Mercy!” interrupted Carrie. “I couldn’t pay any such rate as that.”

“I know how you feel about it,” exclaimed Mr. Withers, halting. “But just let me explain. I said those are our regular rates. Like every other hotel we make special ones however. Possibly you have not thought about it, but your name is worth something to us.”
“Oh!” ejaculated Carrie, seeing at a glance.

“Of course. Every hotel depends upon the repute of its patrons. A well-known actress like yourself,” and he bowed politely, while Carrie flushed, “draws attention to the hotel, and–although you may not believe it–patrons.”

“Oh, yes,” returned Carrie, vacantly, trying to arrange this curious proposition in her mind.

“Now,” continued Mr. Withers, swaying his derby hat softly and beating one of his polished shoes upon the floor, “I want to arrange, if possible, to have you come and stop at the Wellington. You need not trouble about terms. In fact, we need hardly discuss them. Anything will do for the summer–a mere figure–anything that you think you could afford to pay.”

Carrie was about to interrupt, but he gave her no chance.

“You can come to-day or to-morrow–the earlier the better–and we will give you your choice of nice, light, outside rooms–the very best we have.”

“You’re very kind,” said Carrie, touched by the agent’s extreme affability. “I should like to come very much. I would want to pay what is right, however. I shouldn’t want to—-”

“You need not trouble about that at all,” interrupted Mr. Withers. “We can arrange that to your entire satisfaction at any time. If three dollars a day is satisfactory to you, it will be so to us. All you have to do is to pay that sum to the clerk at the end of the week or month, just as you wish, and he will give you a receipt for what the rooms would cost if charged for at our regular rates.”

The speaker paused.

“Suppose you come and look at the rooms,” he added.

“I’d be glad to,” said Carrie, “but I have a rehearsal this morning.”

“I did not mean at once,” he returned. “Any time will do. Would this afternoon be inconvenient?”

“Not at all,” said Carrie.

Suddenly she remembered Lola, who was out at the time.

“I have a room-mate,” she added, “who will have to go wherever I do. I forgot about that.”

“Oh, very well,” said Mr. Withers, blandly. “It is for you to say whom you want with you. As I say, all that can be arranged to suit yourself.”

He bowed and backed toward the door.

“At four, then, we may expect you?”

“Yes,” said Carrie.

“I will be there to show you,” and so Mr. Withers withdrew.

After rehearsal Carrie informed Lola. “Did they really?” exclaimed the latter, thinking of the Wellington as a group of managers. “Isn’t that fine? Oh, jolly! It’s so swell. That’s where we dined that night we went with those two Cushing boys. Don’t you know?”

“I remember,” said Carrie.

“Oh, it’s as fine as it can be.”

“We’d better be going up there,” observed Carrie later in the afternoon.

The rooms which Mr. Withers displayed to Carrie and Lola were three and bath–a suite on the parlour floor. They were done in chocolate and dark red, with rugs and hangings to match. Three windows looked down into busy Broadway on the east, three into a side street which crossed there. There were two lovely bedrooms, set with brass and white enamel beds, white ribbon-trimmed chairs and chiffoniers to match. In the third room, or parlour, was a piano, a heavy piano lamp, with a shade of gorgeous pattern, a library table, several huge easy rockers, some dado book shelves, and a gilt curio case, filled with oddities. Pictures were upon the walls, soft Turkish pillows upon the divan footstools of brown plush upon the floor. Such accommodations would ordinarily cost a hundred dollars a week.

“Oh, lovely!” exclaimed Lola, walking about.

“It is comfortable,” said Carrie, who was lifting a lace curtain and looking down into crowded Broadway.

The bath was a handsome affair, done in white enamel, with a large, blue-bordered stone tub and nickel trimmings. It was bright and commodious, with a bevelled mirror set in the wall at one end and incandescent lights arranged in three places.

“Do you find these satisfactory?” observed Mr. Withers.

“Oh, very,” answered Carrie.

“Well, then, any time you find it convenient to move in, they are ready. The boy will bring you the keys at the door.”

Carrie noted the elegantly carpeted and decorated hall, the marbled lobby, and showy waiting-room. It was such a place as she had often dreamed of occupying.

“I guess we’d better move right away, don’t you think so?” she observed to Lola, thinking of the commonplace chamber in Seventeenth Street.

“Oh, by all means,” said the latter.

The next day her trunks left for the new abode.

Dressing, after the matinee on Wednesday, a knock came at her dressing-room door.

Carrie looked at the card handed by the boy and suffered a shock of surprise.

“Tell her I’ll be right out,” she said softly. Then, looking at the card, added: “Mrs. Vance.”

“Why, you little sinner,” the latter exclaimed, as she saw Carrie coming toward her across the now vacant stage. “How in the world did this happen?”

Carrie laughed merrily. There was no trace of embarrassment in her friend’s manner. You would have thought that the long separation had come about accidentally.

“I don’t know,” returned Carrie, warming, in spite of her first troubled feelings, toward this handsome, good-natured young matron.

“Well, you know, I saw your picture in the Sunday paper, but your name threw me off. I thought it must be you or somebody that looked just like you, and I said: ‘Well, now, I will go right down there and see.’ I was never more surprised in my life. How are you, anyway?”

“Oh, very well,” returned Carrie. “How have you been?”

“Fine. But aren’t you a success! Dear, oh! All the papers talking about you. I should think you would be just too proud to breathe. I was almost afraid to come back here this afternoon.”

“Oh, nonsense,” said Carrie, blushing. “You know I’d be glad to see you.”

“Well, anyhow, here you are. Can’t you come up and take dinner with me now? Where are you stopping?”

“At the Wellington,” said Carrie, who permitted herself a touch of pride in the acknowledgment.

“Oh, are you?” exclaimed the other, upon whom the name was not without its proper effect.

Tactfully, Mrs. Vance avoided the subject of Hurstwood, of whom she could not help thinking. No doubt Carrie had left him. That much she surmised.

“Oh, I don’t think I can,” said Carrie, “to-night. I have so little time. I must be back here by 7.30. Won’t you come and dine with me?”

“I’d be delighted, but I can’t to-night,” said Mrs. Vance studying Carrie’s fine appearance. The latter’s good fortune made her seem more than ever worthy and delightful in the others eyes. “I promised faithfully to be home at six.” Glancing at the small gold watch pinned to her bosom, she added: “I must be going, too. Tell me when you’re coming up, if at all.”

“Why, any time you like,” said Carrie.

“Well, to-morrow then. I’m living at the Chelsea now.”

“Moved again?” exclaimed Carrie, laughing.

“Yes. You know I can’t stay six months in one place. I just have to move. Remember now–half-past five.”

“I won’t forget,” said Carrie, casting a glance at her as she went away. Then it came to her that she was as good as this woman now–perhaps better. Something in the other’s solicitude and interest made her feel as if she were the one to condescend.

Now, as on each preceding day, letters were handed her by the doorman at the Casino. This was a feature which had rapidly developed since Monday. What they contained she well knew. MASH NOTES were old affairs in their mildest form. She remembered having received her first one far back in Columbia City. Since then, as a chorus girl, she had received others–gentlemen who prayed for an engagement. They were common sport between her and Lola, who received some also. They both frequently made light of them.

Now, however, they came thick and fast. Gentlemen with fortunes did not hesitate to note, as an addition to their own amiable collection of virtues, that they had their horses and carriages. Thus one:

“I have a million in my own right. I could give you every luxury. There isn’t anything you could ask for that you couldn’t have. I say this, not because I want to speak of my money, but because I love you and wish to gratify your every desire. It is love that prompts me to write. Will you not give me one half- hour in which to plead my cause?”

Such of these letters as came while Carrie was still in the Seventeenth Street place were read with more interest–though never delight–than those which arrived after she was installed in her luxurious quarters at the Wellington. Even there her vanity–or that self-appreciation which, in its more rabid form, is called vanity–was not sufficiently cloyed to make these things wearisome. Adulation, being new in any form, pleased her. Only she was sufficiently wise to distinguish between her old condition and her new one. She had not had fame or money before. Now they had come. She had not had adulation and affectionate propositions before. Now they had come. Wherefore? She smiled to think that men should suddenly find her so much more attractive. In the least way it incited her to coolness and indifference.

“Do look here,” she remarked to Lola. “See what this man says: ‘If you will only deign to grant me one half-hour,'” she repeated, with an imitation of languor. “The idea. Aren’t men silly?”

“He must have lots of money, the way he talks,” observed Lola. “That’s what they all say,” said Carrie, innocently.

“Why don’t you see him,” suggested Lola, “and hear what he has to say?”

“Indeed I won’t,” said Carrie. “I know what he’d say. I don’t want to meet anybody that way.”

Lola looked at her with big, merry eyes.

“He couldn’t hurt you,” she returned. “You might have some fun with him.”

Carrie shook her head.

“You’re awfully queer,” returned the little, blue-eyed soldier.

Thus crowded fortune. For this whole week, though her large salary had not yet arrived, it was as if the world understood and trusted her. Without money–or the requisite sum, at least–she enjoyed the luxuries which money could buy. For her the doors of fine places seemed to open quite without the asking. These palatial chambers, how marvellously they came to her. The elegant apartments of Mrs. Vance in the Chelsea–these were hers. Men sent flowers, love notes, offers of fortune. And still her dreams ran riot. The one hundred and fifty! the one hundred and fifty! What a door to an Aladdin’s cave it seemed to be. Each day, her head almost turned by developments, her fancies of what her fortune must be, with ample money, grew and multiplied. She conceived of delights which were not–saw lights of joy that never were on land or sea. Then, at last, after a world of anticipation, came her first installment of one hundred and fifty dollars.

It was paid to her in greenbacks–three twenties, six tens, and six fives. Thus collected it made a very convenient roll. It was accompanied by a smile and a salutation from the cashier who paid it.

“Ah, yes,” said the latter, when she applied; “Miss Madenda–one hundred and fifty dollars. Quite a success the show seems to have made.”

“Yes, indeed,” returned Carrie.

Right after came one of the insignificant members of the company, and she heard the changed tone of address.

“How much?” said the same cashier, sharply. One, such as she had only recently been, was waiting for her modest salary. It took her back to the few weeks in which she had collected–or rather had received–almost with the air of a domestic, four-fifty per week from a lordly foreman in a shoe factory–a man who, in distributing the envelopes, had the manner of a prince doling out favours to a servile group of petitioners. She knew that out in Chicago this very day the same factory chamber was full of poor homely-clad girls working in long lines at clattering machines; that at noon they would eat a miserable lunch in a half-hour; that Saturday they would gather, as they had when she was one of them, and accept the small pay for work a hundred times harder than she was now doing. Oh, it was so easy now! The world was so rosy and bright. She felt so thrilled that she must needs walk back to the hotel to think, wondering what she should do.

It does not take money long to make plain its impotence, providing the desires are in the realm of affection. With her one hundred and fifty in hand, Carrie could think of nothing particularly to do. In itself, as a tangible, apparent thing which she could touch and look upon, it was a diverting thing for a few days, but this soon passed. Her hotel bill did not require its use. Her clothes had for some time been wholly satisfactory. Another day or two and she would receive another hundred and fifty. It began to appear as if this were not so startlingly necessary to maintain her present state. If she wanted to do anything better or move higher she must have more–a great deal more.

Now a critic called to get up one of those tinsel interviews which shine with clever observations, show up the wit of critics, display the folly of celebrities, and divert the public. He liked Carrie, and said so, publicly–adding, however, that she was merely pretty, good-natured, and lucky. This cut like a knife. The “Herald,” getting up an entertainment for the benefit of its free ice fund, did her the honour to beg her to appear along with celebrities for nothing. She was visited by a young author, who had a play which he thought she could produce. Alas, she could not judge. It hurt her to think it. Then she found she must put her money in the bank for safety, and so moving, finally reached the place where it struck her that the door to life’s perfect enjoyment was not open.

Gradually she began to think it was because it was summer. Nothing was going on much save such entertainments as the one in which she was the star. Fifth Avenue was boarded up where the rich had deserted their mansions. Madison Avenue was little better. Broadway was full of loafing thespians in search of next season’s engagements. The whole city was quiet and her nights were taken up with her work. Hence the feeling that there was little to do.

“I don’t know,” she said to Lola one day, sitting at one of the windows which looked down into Broadway, “I get lonely; don’t you?”

“No,” said Lola, “not very often. You won’t go anywhere. That’s what’s the matter with you.”

“Where can I go?”

“Why, there’re lots of places,” returned Lola, who was thinking of her own lightsome tourneys with the gay youths. “You won’t go with anybody.”

“I don’t want to go with these people who write to me. I know what kind they are.”

“You oughtn’t to be lonely,” said Lola, thinking of Carrie’s success. “There’re lots would give their ears to be in your shoes.”

Carrie looked out again at the passing crowd.

“I don’t know,” she said.

Unconsciously her idle hands were beginning to weary.

Chapter XLV


The gloomy Hurstwood, sitting in his cheap hotel, where he had taken refuge with seventy dollars–the price of his furniture– between him and nothing, saw a hot summer out and a cool fall in, reading. He was not wholly indifferent to the fact that his money was slipping away. As fifty cents after fifty cents were paid out for a day’s lodging he became uneasy, and finally took a cheaper room–thirty-five cents a day–to make his money last longer. Frequently he saw notices of Carrie. Her picture was in the “World” once or twice, and an old “Herald” he found in a chair informed him that she had recently appeared with some others at a benefit for something or other. He read these things with mingled feelings. Each one seemed to put her farther and farther away into a realm which became more imposing as it receded from him. On the billboards, too, he saw a pretty poster, showing her as the Quaker Maid, demure and dainty. More than once he stopped and looked at these, gazing at the pretty face in a sullen sort of way. His clothes were shabby, and he presented a marked contrast to all that she now seemed to be.

Somehow, so long as he knew she was at the Casino, though he had never any intention of going near her, there was a subconscious comfort for him–he was not quite alone. The show seemed such a fixture that, after a month or two, he began to take it for granted that it was still running. In September it went on the road and he did not notice it. When all but twenty dollars of his money was gone, he moved to a fifteen-cent lodging-house in the Bowery, where there was a bare lounging-room filled with tables and benches as well as some chairs. Here his preference was to close his eyes and dream of other days, a habit which grew upon him. It was not sleep at first, but a mental hearkening back to scenes and incidents in his Chicago life. As the present became darker, the past grew brighter, and all that concerned it stood in relief.

He was unconscious of just how much this habit had hold of him until one day he found his lips repeating an old answer he had made to one of his friends. They were in Fitzgerald and Moy’s. It was as if he stood in the door of his elegant little office, comfortably dressed, talking to Sagar Morrison about the value of South Chicago real estate in which the latter was about to invest.

“How would you like to come in on that with me?” he heard Morrison say.

“Not me,” he answered, just as he had years before. “I have my hands full now.”

The movement of his lips aroused him. He wondered whether he had really spoken. The next time he noticed anything of the sort he really did talk.

“Why don’t you jump, you bloody fool?” he was saying. “Jump!”

It was a funny English story he was telling to a company of actors. Even as his voice recalled him, he was smiling. A crusty old codger, sitting near by, seemed disturbed; at least, he stared in a most pointed way. Hurstwood straightened up. The humour of the memory fled in an instant and he felt ashamed. For relief, he left his chair and strolled out into the streets.

One day, looking down the ad. columns of the “Evening World,” he saw where a new play was at the Casino. Instantly, he came to a mental halt. Carrie had gone! He remembered seeing a poster of her only yesterday, but no doubt it was one left uncovered by the new signs. Curiously, this fact shook him up. He had almost to admit that somehow he was depending upon her being in the city. Now she was gone. He wondered how this important fact had skipped him. Goodness knows when she would be back now. Impelled by a nervous fear, he rose and went into the dingy hall, where he counted his remaining money, unseen. There were but ten dollars in all.

He wondered how all these other lodging-house people around him got along. They didn’t seem to do anything. Perhaps they begged–unquestionably they did. Many was the dime he had given to such as they in his day. He had seen other men asking for money on the streets. Maybe he could get some that way. There was horror in this thought.

Sitting in the lodging-house room, he came to his last fifty cents. He had saved and counted until his health was affected. His stoutness had gone. With it, even the semblance of a fit in his clothes. Now he decided he must do something, and, walking about, saw another day go by, bringing him down to his last twenty cents–not enough to eat for the morrow.

Summoning all his courage, he crossed to Broadway and up to the Broadway Central hotel. Within a block he halted, undecided. A big, heavy-faced porter was standing at one of the side entrances, looking out. Hurstwood purposed to appeal to him. Walking straight up, he was upon him before he could turn away.

“My friend,” he said, recognising even in his plight the man’s inferiority, “is there anything about this hotel that I could get to do?”

The porter stared at him the while he continued to talk.

“I’m out of work and out of money and I’ve got to get something,– it doesn’t matter what. I don’t care to talk about what I’ve been, but if you’d tell me how to get something to do, I’d be much obliged to you. It wouldn’t matter if it only lasted a few days just now. I’ve got to have something.”

The porter still gazed, trying to look indifferent. Then, seeing that Hurstwood was about to go on, he said:

“I’ve nothing to do with it. You’ll have to ask inside.”

Curiously, this stirred Hurstwood to further effort.

“I thought you might tell me.”

The fellow shook his head irritably.

Inside went the ex-manager and straight to an office off the clerk’s desk. One of the managers of the hotel happened to be there. Hurstwood looked him straight in the eye.

“Could you give me something to do for a few days?” he said. “I’m in a position where I have to get something at once.”

The comfortable manager looked at him, as much as to say: “Well, I should judge so.”

“I came here,” explained Hurstwood, nervously, “because I’ve been a manager myself in my day. I’ve had bad luck in a way but I’m not here to tell you that. I want something to do, if only for a week.”

The man imagined he saw a feverish gleam in the applicant’s eye.

“What hotel did you manage?” he inquired.

“It wasn’t a hotel,” said Hurstwood. “I was manager of Fitzgerald and Moy’s place in Chicago for fifteen years.”

“Is that so?” said the hotel man. “How did you come to get out of that?”

The figure of Hurstwood was rather surprising in contrast to the fact.

“Well, by foolishness of my own. It isn’t anything to talk about now. You could find out if you wanted to. I’m ‘broke’ now and, if you will believe me, I haven’t eaten anything to-day.”

The hotel man was slightly interested in this story. He could hardly tell what to do with such a figure, and yet Hurstwood’s earnestness made him wish to do something.

“Call Olsen,” he said, turning to the clerk.

In reply to a bell and a disappearing hall-boy, Olsen, the head porter, appeared.

“Olsen,” said the manager, “is there anything downstairs you could find for this man to do? I’d like to give him something.”

“I don’t know, sir,” said Olsen. “We have about all the help we need. I think I could find something, sir, though, if you like.”

“Do. Take him to the kitchen and tell Wilson to give him something to eat.”

“All right, sir,” said Olsen.

Hurstwood followed. Out of the manager’s sight, the head porter’s manner changed.

“I don’t know what the devil there is to do,” he observed.

Hurstwood said nothing. To him the big trunk hustler was a subject for private contempt.

“You’re to give this man something to eat,” he observed to the cook.

The latter looked Hurstwood over, and seeing something keen and intellectual in his eyes, said:

“Well, sit down over there.”

Thus was Hurstwood installed in the Broadway Central, but not for long. He was in no shape or mood to do the scrub work that exists about the foundation of every hotel. Nothing better offering, he was set to aid the fireman, to work about the basement, to do anything and everything that might offer. Porters, cooks, firemen, clerks–all were over him. Moreover his appearance did not please these individuals–his temper was too lonely–and they made it disagreeable for him.

With the stolidity and indifference of despair, however, he endured it all, sleeping in an attic at the roof of the house, eating what the cook gave him, accepting a few dollars a week, which he tried to save. His constitution was in no shape to endure.

One day the following February he was sent on an errand to a large coal company’s office. It had been snowing and thawing and the streets were sloppy. He soaked his shoes in his progress and came back feeling dull and weary. All the next day he felt unusually depressed and sat about as much as possible, to the irritation of those who admired energy in others.

In the afternoon some boxes were to be moved to make room for new culinary supplies. He was ordered to handle a truck. Encountering a big box, he could not lift it.

“What’s the matter there?” said the head porter. “Can’t you handle it?”

He was straining to lift it, but now he quit.

“No,” he said, weakly.

The man looked at him and saw that he was deathly pale.

“Not sick, are you?” he asked.
“I think I am,” returned Hurstwood.

“Well, you’d better go sit down, then.”

This he did, but soon grew rapidly worse. It seemed all he could do to crawl to his room, where he remained for a day.

“That man Wheeler’s sick,” reported one of the lackeys to the night clerk.

“What’s the matter with him?”

“I don’t know. He’s got a high fever.”

The hotel physician looked at him.

“Better send him to Bellevue,” he recommended. “He’s got pneumonia.”

Accordingly, he was carted away.

In three weeks the worst was over, but it was nearly the first of May before his strength permitted him to be turned out. Then he was discharged.

No more weakly looking object ever strolled out into the spring sunshine than the once hale, lusty manager. All his corpulency had fled. His face was thin and pale, his hands white, his body flabby. Clothes and all, he weighed but one hundred and thirty- five pounds. Some old garments had been given him–a cheap brown coat and misfit pair of trousers. Also some change and advice. He was told to apply to the charities.

Again he resorted to the Bowery lodging-house, brooding over where to look. From this it was but a step to beggary.

“What can a man do?” he said. “I can’t starve.”

His first application was in sunny Second Avenue. A well-dressed man came leisurely strolling toward him out of Stuyvesant Park. Hurstwood nerved himself and sidled near.

“Would you mind giving me ten cents?” he said, directly. “I’m in a position where I must ask some one.”

The man scarcely looked at him, fished in his vest pocket and took out a dime.

“There you are,” he said.

“Much obliged,” said Hurstwood, softly, but the other paid no more attention to him.

Satisfied with his success and yet ashamed of his situation, he decided that he would only ask for twenty-five cents more, since that would be sufficient. He strolled about sizing up people, but it was long before just the right face and situation arrived. When he asked, he was refused. Shocked by this result, he took an hour to recover and then asked again. This time a nickel was given him. By the most watchful effort he did get twenty cents more, but it was painful.

The next day he resorted to the same effort, experiencing a variety of rebuffs and one or two generous receptions. At last it crossed his mind that there was a science of faces, and that a man could pick the liberal countenance if he tried.

It was no pleasure to him, however, this stopping of passers-by. He saw one man taken up for it and now troubled lest he should be arrested. Nevertheless, he went on, vaguely anticipating that indefinite something which is always better.

It was with a sense of satisfaction, then, that he saw announced one morning the return of the Casino Company, “with Miss Carrie Madenda.” He had thought of her often enough in days past. How successful she was–how much money she must have! Even now, however, it took a severe run of ill luck to decide him to appeal to her. He was truly hungry before he said:

“I’ll ask her. She won’t refuse me a few dollars.”

Accordingly, he headed for the Casino one afternoon, passing it several times in an effort to locate the stage entrance. Then he sat in Bryant Park, a block away, waiting. “She can’t refuse to help me a little,” he kept saying to himself.

Beginning with half-past six, he hovered like a shadow about the Thirty-ninth Street entrance, pretending always to be a hurrying pedestrian and yet fearful lest he should miss his object. He was slightly nervous, too, now that the eventful hour had arrived; but being weak and hungry, his ability to suffer was modified. At last he saw that the actors were beginning to arrive, and his nervous tension increased, until it seemed as if he could not stand much more.

Once he thought he saw Carrie coming and moved forward, only to see that he was mistaken.

“She can’t be long, now,” he said to himself, half fearing to encounter her and equally depressed at the thought that she might have gone in by another way. His stomach was so empty that it ached.

Individual after individual passed him, nearly all well dressed, almost all indifferent. He saw coaches rolling by, gentlemen passing with ladies–the evening’s merriment was beginning in this region of theatres and hotels.

Suddenly a coach rolled up and the driver jumped down to open the door. Before Hurstwood could act, two ladies flounced across the broad walk and disappeared in the stage door. He thought he saw Carrie, but it was so unexpected, so elegant and far away, he could hardly tell. He waited a while longer, growing feverish with want, and then seeing that the stage door no longer opened, and that a merry audience was arriving, he concluded it must have been Carrie and turned away.

“Lord,” he said, hastening out of the street into which the more fortunate were pouring, “I’ve got to get something.”

At that hour, when Broadway is wont to assume its most interesting aspect, a peculiar individual invariably took his stand at the corner of Twenty-sixth Street and Broadway–a spot which is also intersected by Fifth Avenue. This was the hour when the theatres were just beginning to receive their patrons. Fire signs announcing the night’s amusements blazed on every hand. Cabs and carriages, their lamps gleaming like yellow eyes, pattered by. Couples and parties of three and four freely mingled in the common crowd, which poured by in a thick stream, laughing and jesting. On Fifth Avenue were loungers–a few wealthy strollers, a gentleman in evening dress with his lady on his arm, some club-men passing from one smoking-room to another. Across the way the great hotels showed a hundred gleaming windows, their cafes and billiard-rooms filled with a comfortable, well-dressed, and pleasure-loving throng. All about was the night, pulsating with the thoughts of pleasure and exhilaration–the curious enthusiasm of a great city bent upon finding joy in a thousand different ways.

This unique individual was no less than an ex-soldier turned religionist, who, having suffered the whips and privations of our peculiar social system, had concluded that his duty to the God which he conceived lay in aiding his fellow-man. The form of aid which he chose to administer was entirely original with himself. It consisted of securing a bed for all such homeless wayfarers as should apply to him at this particular spot, though he had scarcely the wherewithal to provide a comfortable habitation for himself. Taking his place amid this lightsome atmosphere, he would stand, his stocky figure cloaked in a great cape overcoat, his head protected by a broad slouch hat, awaiting the applicants who had in various ways learned the nature of his charity. For a while he would stand alone, gazing like any idler upon an ever- fascinating scene. On the evening in question, a policeman passing saluted him as “captain,” in a friendly way. An urchin who had frequently seen him before, stopped to gaze. All others took him for nothing out of the ordinary, save in the matter of dress, and conceived of him as a stranger whistling and idling for his own amusement.

As the first half-hour waned, certain characters appeared. Here and there in the passing crowds one might see, now and then, a loiterer edging interestedly near. A slouchy figure crossed the opposite corner and glanced furtively in his direction. Another came down Fifth Avenue to the corner of Twenty-sixth Street, took a general survey, and hobbled off again. Two or three noticeable Bowery types edged along the Fifth Avenue side of Madison Square, but did not venture over. The soldier, in his cape overcoat, walked a short line of ten feet at his corner, to and fro, indifferently whistling.

As nine o’clock approached, some of the hubbub of the earlier hour passed. The atmosphere of the hotels was not so youthful. The air, too, was colder. On every hand curious figures were moving–watchers and peepers, without an imaginary circle, which they seemed afraid to enter–a dozen in all. Presently, with the arrival of a keener sense of cold, one figure came forward. It crossed Broadway from out the shadow of Twenty-sixth Street, and, in a halting, circuitous way, arrived close to the waiting figure. There was something shamefaced or diffident about the movement, as if the intention were to conceal any idea of stopping until the very last moment. Then suddenly, close to the soldier, came the halt.

The captain looked in recognition, but there was no especial greeting. The newcomer nodded slightly and murmured something like one who waits for gifts. The other simply motioned to-ward the edge of the walk.

“Stand over there,” he said.

By this the spell was broken. Even while the soldier resumed his short, solemn walk, other figures shuffled forward. They did not so much as greet the leader, but joined the one, sniffling and hitching and scraping their feet.

“Gold, ain’t it?”

“I’m glad winter’s over.”

“Looks as though it might rain.”

The motley company had increased to ten. One or two knew each other and conversed. Others stood off a few feet, not wishing to be in the crowd and yet not counted out. They were peevish, crusty, silent, eying nothing in particular and moving their feet.

There would have been talking soon, but the soldier gave them no chance. Counting sufficient to begin, he came forward.

“Beds, eh, all of you?”

There was a general shuffle and murmur of approval.

“Well, line up here. I’ll see what I can do. I haven’t a cent myself.”

They fell into a sort of broken, ragged line. One might see, now, some of the chief characteristics by contrast. There was a wooden leg in the line. Hats were all drooping, a group that would ill become a second-hand Hester Street basement collection. Trousers were all warped and frayed at the bottom and coats worn and faded. In the glare of the store lights, some of the faces looked dry and chalky; others were red with blotches and puffed in the cheeks and under the eyes; one or two were rawboned and reminded one of railroad hands. A few spectators came near, drawn by the seemingly conferring group, then more and more, and quickly there was a pushing, gaping crowd. Some one in the line began to talk.

“Silence!” exclaimed the captain. “Now, then, gentlemen, these men are without beds. They have to have some place to sleep to- night. They can’t lie out in the streets. I need twelve cents to put one of them to bed. Who will give it to me?”

No reply.

“Well, we’ll have to wait here, boys, until some one does. Twelve cents isn’t so very much for one man.”

“Here’s fifteen,” exclaimed a young man, peering forward with strained eyes. “It’s all I can afford.”

“All right. Now I have fifteen. Step out of the line,” and seizing one by the shoulder, the captain marched him off a little way and stood him up alone.

Coming back, he resumed his place and began again.

“I have three cents left. These men must be put to bed somehow. There are”–counting–“one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve men. Nine cents more will put the next man to bed; give him a good, comfortable bed for the night. I go right along and look after that myself. Who will give me nine cents?”

One of the watchers, this time a middle-aged man, handed him a five-cent piece.

“Now, I have eight cents. Four more will give this man a bed. Come, gentlemen. We are going very slow this evening. You all have good beds. How about these?”

“Here you are,” remarked a bystander, putting a coin into his hand.

“That,” said the captain, looking at the coin, “pays for two beds for two men and gives me five on the next one. Who will give me seven cents more?”

“I will,” said a voice.

Coming down Sixth Avenue this evening, Hurstwood chanced to cross east through Twenty-sixth Street toward Third Avenue. He was wholly disconsolate in spirit, hungry to what he deemed an almost mortal extent, weary, and defeated. How should he get at Carrie now? It would be eleven before the show was over. If she came in a coach, she would go away in one. He would need to interrupt under most trying circumstances. Worst of all, he was hungry and weary, and at best a whole day must intervene, for he had not heart to try again to-night. He had no food and no bed.

When he neared Broadway, he noticed the captain’s gathering of wanderers, but thinking it to be the result of a street preacher or some patent medicine fakir, was about to pass on. However, in crossing the street toward Madison Square Park, he noticed the line of men whose beds were already secured, stretching out from the main body of the crowd. In the glare of the neighbouring electric light he recognised a type of his own kind–the figures whom he saw about the streets and in the lodging-houses, drifting in mind and body like himself. He wondered what it could be and turned back.

There was the captain curtly pleading as before. He heard with astonishment and a sense of relief the oft-repeated words: “These men must have a bed.” Before him was the line of unfortunates whose beds were yet to be had, and seeing a newcomer quietly edge up and take a position at the end of the line, he decided to do likewise. What use to contend? He was weary to-night. It was a simple way out of one difficulty, at least. To-morrow, maybe, he would do better.

Back of him, where some of those were whose beds were safe, a relaxed air was apparent. The strain of uncertainty being removed, he heard them talking with moderate freedom and some leaning toward sociability. Politics, religion, the state of the government, some newspaper sensations, and the more notorious facts the world over, found mouthpieces and auditors there. Cracked and husky voices pronounced forcibly upon odd matters. Vague and rambling observations were made in reply.

There were squints, and leers, and some dull, ox-like stares from those who were too dull or too weary to converse.

Standing tells. Hurstwood became more weary waiting. He thought he should drop soon and shifted restlessly from one foot to the other. At last his turn came. The man ahead had been paid for and gone to the blessed line of success. He was now first, and already the captain was talking for him.

“Twelve cents, gentlemen–twelve cents puts this man to bed. He wouldn’t stand here in the cold if he had any place to go.”

Hurstwood swallowed something that rose to his throat. Hunger and weakness had made a coward of him.

“Here you are,” said a stranger, handing money to the captain.

Now the latter put a kindly hand on the ex-manager’s shoulder. “Line up over there,” he said.

Once there, Hurstwood breathed easier. He felt as if the world were not quite so bad with such a good man in it. Others seemed to feel like himself about this.

“Captain’s a great feller, ain’t he?” said the man ahead–a little, woebegone, helpless-looking sort of individual, who looked as though he had ever been the sport and care of fortune.

“Yes,” said Hurstwood, indifferently.

“Huh! there’s a lot back there yet,” said a man farther up, leaning out and looking back at the applicants for whom the captain was pleading.

“Yes. Must be over a hundred to-night,” said another.

“Look at the guy in the cab,” observed a third.

A cab had stopped. Some gentleman in evening dress reached out a bill to the captain, who took it with simple thanks and turned away to his line. There was a general craning of necks as the jewel in the white shirt front sparkled and the cab moved off. Even the crowd gaped in awe.

“That fixes up nine men for the night,” said the captain, counting out as many of the line near him. “Line up over there. Now, then, there are only seven. I need twelve cents.”

Money came slowly. In the course of time the crowd thinned out to a meagre handful. Fifth Avenue, save for an occasional cab or foot passenger, was bare. Broadway was thinly peopled with pedestrians. Only now and then a stranger passing noticed the small group, handed out a coin, and went away, unheeding.

The captain remained stolid and determined. He talked on, very slowly, uttering the fewest words and with a certain assurance, as though he could not fail.

“Come; I can’t stay out here all night. These men are getting tired and cold. Some one give me four cents.”

There came a time when he said nothing at all. Money was handed him, and for each twelve cents he singled out a man and put him in the other line. Then he walked up and down as before, looking at the ground.

The theatres let out. Fire signs disappeared. A clock struck eleven. Another half-hour and he was down to the last two men.

“Come, now,” he exclaimed to several curious observers; “eighteen cents will fix us all up for the night. Eighteen cents. I have six. Somebody give me the money. Remember, I have to go over to Brooklyn yet to-night. Before that I have to take these men down and put them to bed. Eighteen cents.”

No one responded. He walked to and fro, looking down for several minutes, occasionally saying softly: “Eighteen cents.” It seemed as if this paltry sum would delay the desired culmination longer than all the rest had. Hurstwood, buoyed up slightly by the long line of which he was a part, refrained with an effort from groaning, he was so weak.

At last a lady in opera cape and rustling skirts came down Fifth Avenue, accompanied by her escort. Hurstwood gazed wearily, reminded by her both of Carrie in her new world and of the time when he had escorted his own wife in like manner.

While he was gazing, she turned and, looking at the remarkable company, sent her escort over. He came, holding a bill in his fingers, all elegant and graceful.

“Here you are,” he said.

“Thanks,” said the captain, turning to the two remaining applicants. “Now we have some for to-morrow night,” he added.

Therewith he lined up the last two and proceeded to the head, counting as he went.

“One hundred and thirty-seven,” he announced. “Now, boys, line up. Right dress there. We won’t be much longer about this. Steady, now.”

He placed himself at the head and called out “Forward.” Hurstwood moved with the line. Across Fifth Avenue, through Madison Square by the winding paths, east on Twenty-third Street, and down Third Avenue wound the long, serpentine company. Midnight pedestrians and loiterers stopped and stared as the company passed. Chatting policemen, at various corners, stared indifferently or nodded to the leader, whom they had seen before. On Third Avenue they marched, a seemingly weary way, to Eighth Street, where there was a lodginghouse, closed, apparently, for the night. They were expected, however.

Outside in the gloom they stood, while the leader parleyed within. Then doors swung open and they were invited in with a “Steady, now.”

Some one was at the head showing rooms, so that there was no delay for keys. Toiling up the creaky stairs, Hurstwood looked back and saw the captain, watching; the last one of the line being included in his broad solicitude. Then he gathered his cloak about him and strolled out into the night.

“I can’t stand much of this,” said Hurstwood, whose legs ached him painfully, as he sat down upon the miserable bunk in the small, lightless chamber allotted to him. “I’ve got to eat, or I’ll die.”

Chapter XLVI


Playing in New York one evening on this her return, Carrie was putting the finishing touches to her toilet before leaving for the night, when a commotion near the stage door caught her ear. It included a familiar voice.

“Never mind, now. I want to see Miss Madenda.”

“You’ll have to send in your card.”

“Oh, come off! Here.”

A half-dollar was passed over, and now a knock came at her dressing-room door.
Carrie opened it.

“Well, well!” said Drouet. “I do swear! Why, how are you? I knew that was you the moment I saw you.”

Carrie fell back a pace, expecting a most embarrassing conversation.

“Aren’t you going to shake hands with me? Well, you’re a dandy!