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THE AMBASSADOR FALLEN: A SEARCH FOR
Carrie, left alone by Drouet, listened to his retreating steps,
scarcely realising what had happened. She knew that he had
stormed out. It was some moments before she questioned whether
he would return, not now exactly, but ever. She looked around her
upon the rooms, out of which the evening light was dying, and
wondered why she did not feel quite the same towards them. She
went over to the dresser and struck a match, lighting the gas. Then
she went back to the rocker to think.
It was some time before she could collect her thoughts, but when
she did, this truth began to take on importance. She was quite
alone. Suppose Drouet did not come back? Suppose she should
never hear anything more of him? This fine arrangement of
chambers would not last long. She would have to quit them.
To her credit, be it said, she never once counted on Hurstwood.
She could only approach that subject with a pang of sorrow and
regret. For a truth, she was rather shocked and frightened by this
evidence of human depravity. He would have tricked her without
turning an eyelash. She would have been led into a newer and
worse situation. And yet she could not keep out the pictures of his
looks and manners. Only this one deed seemed strange and
miserable. It contrasted sharply with all she felt and knew
concerning the man.
But she was alone. That was the greater thought just at present.
How about that? Would she go out to work again? Would she
begin to look around in the business district? The stage! Oh, yes.
Drouet had spoken about that. Was there any hope there? She
moved to and fro, in deep and varied thoughts, while the minutes
slipped away and night fell completely. She had had nothing to
eat, and yet there she sat, thinking it over.
She remembered that she was hungry and went to the little
cupboard in the rear room where were the remains of one of their
breakfasts. She looked at these things with certain misgivings.
The contemplation of food had more significance than usual.
While she was eating she began to wonder how much money she
had. It struck her as exceedingly important, and without ado she
went to look for her purse. It was on the dresser, and in it were
seven dollars in bills and some change. She quailed as she thought
of the insignificance of the amount and rejoiced because the rent
was paid until the end of the month. She began also to think what
she would have done if she had gone out into the street when she
first started. By the side of that situation, as she looked at it now,
the present seemed agreeable. She had a little time at least, and
then, perhaps, everything would come out all right, after all.
Drouet had gone, but what of it? He did not seem seriously angry.
He only acted as if he were hurry. He would come back-of course
he would. There was his cane in the corner. Here was one of his
collars. He had left his light overcoat in the wardrobe. She looked
about and tried to assure herself with the sight of a dozen such
details, but, alas, the secondary thought arrived. Supposing he did
come back. Then what?
Here was another proposition nearly, if not quite, as disturbing.
She would have to talk with and explain to him. He would want
her to admit that he was right. It would be impossible for her to
live with him.
On Friday Carrie remembered her appointment with Hurstwood,
and the passing of the hour when she should, by all right of
promise, have been in his company served to keep the calamity
which had befallen her exceedingly fresh and clear. In her
nervousness and stress of mind she felt it necessary to act, and
consequently put on a brown street dress, and at eleven o’clock
started to visit the business portion once again. She must look for
The rain, which threatened at twelve and began at one, served
equally well to cause her to retrace her steps and remain within
doors as it did to reduce Hurstwood’s spirits and give him a
The morrow was Saturday, a half-holiday in many business
quarters, and besides it was a balmy, radiant day, with the trees
and grass shining exceedingly green after the rain of the night
before. When she went out the sparrows were twit-tering merrily
in joyous choruses. She could not help feeling, as she looked
across the lovely park, that life was a joyous thing for those who
did not need to worry, and she wished over and over that
something might interfere now to preserve for her the comfortable
state which she had occupied. She did not want Drouet or his
money when she thought of it, nor anything more to do with
Hurstwood, but only the content and ease of mind she had
experienced, for, after all, she had been happy-happier, at least,
than she was now when confronted by the necessity of making her