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And yet she was not without thoughts which were disturbing.
What did he know? What had Drouet told him? Was she a wife in
his eyes, or what? Would he marry her? Even while he talked, and
she softened, and her eyes were lighted with a tender glow, she
was asking herself if Drouet had told him they were not married.
There was never anything at all convincing about what Drouet
And yet she was not grieved at Hurstwoodís love. No strain of
bitterness was in it for her, whatever he knew. He was evidently
sincere. His passion was real and warm. There was power in what
he said. What should she do? She went on thinking this,
answering vaguely, languishing affectionately, and altogether
drifting, until she was on a borderless sea of speculation.
"Why donít you come away?" he said, tenderly. "I will arrange for
"Oh, donít," said Carrie.
"Donít what?" he asked. "What do you mean?"
There was a look of confusion and pain in her face. She was
wondering why that miserable thought must be brought in. She
was struck as by a blade with the miserable provision which was
outside the pale of marriage.
He himself realised that it was a wretched thing to have dragged
in. He wanted to weigh the effects of it, and yet he could not see.
He went beating on, flushed by her presence, clearly awakened,
intensely enlisted in his plan.
"Wonít you come?" he said, beginning over and with a more
reverent feeling. "You know I canít do without you-you know it-it
canít go on this way-can it?"
"I know," said Carrie.
"I wouldnít ask if I-I wouldnít argue with you if I could help it.
Look at me, Carrie. Put yourself in my place. You donít want to
stay away from me, do you?"
She shook her head as if in deep thought.
"Then why not settle the whole thing, once and for all?"
"I donít know," said Carrie.
"Donít know! Ah, Carrie, what makes you say that? Donít
torment me. Be serious."
"I am," said Carrie, softly.
"You canít be, dearest, and say that. Not when you know how I
love you. Look at last night."
His manner as he said this was the most quiet imaginable. His
face and body retained utter composure. Only his eyes moved,
and they flashed a subtle, dissolving fire. In them the whole
intensity of the manís nature was distilling itself.
Carrie made no answer.
"How can you act this way, dearest?" he inquired, after a time.
"You love me, donít you?"
He turned on her such a storm of feeling that she was
overwhelmed. For the moment all doubts were cleared away.
"Yes," she answered, frankly and tenderly.
"Well, then youíll come, wonít you-come to-night?"
Carrie shook her head in spite of her distress.
"I canít wait any longer," urged Hurstwood. "If that is too soon,
"When will we be married?" she asked, diffidently, forgetting in
her difficult situation that she had hoped he took her to be
The manager started, hit as he was by a problem which was more
difficult than hers. He gave no sign of the thoughts that flashed
like messages to his mind.
"Any time you say," he said, with ease, refusing to discolour his
present delight with this miserable problem.
"Saturday?" asked Carrie.
He nodded his head.
"Well, if you will marry me then," she said, "Iíll go."