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The manager smiled most blandly.
"Have you ever tried to get in as a chorus girl?" he asked,
assuming a more confidential air.
Carrie began to feel that there was something exuberant and
unnatural in his manner.
"No," she said.
"Thatís the way most girls begin," he went on, "who go on the
stage. Itís a good way to get experience."
He was turning on her a glance of the companionable and
"I didnít know that," said Carrie.
"Itís a difficult thing," he went on, "but thereís always a chance,
you know." Then, as if he suddenly remembered, he pulled out his
watch and consulted it. "Iíve an appointment at two," he said,
"and Iíve got to go to lunch now. Would you care to come and
dine with me? We can talk it over there."
"Oh, no," said Carrie, the whole motive of the man flashing on her
at once. "I have an engagement myself."
"Thatís too bad," he said, realising that he had been a little
beforehand in his offer and that Carrie was about to go away.
"Come in later. I may know of something."
"Thank you," she answered, with some trepidation, and went out.
"She was good-looking, wasnít she?" said the managerís
companion, who had not caught all the details of the game he had
"Yes, in a way," said the other, sore to think the game had been
lost. "Sheíd never make an actress, though. Just another chorus
This little experience nearly destroyed her ambition to call upon
the manager at the Chicago Opera House, but she decided to do so
after a time. He was of a more sedate turn of mind. He said at
once that there was no opening of any sort, and seemed to
consider her search foolish.
"Chicago is no place to get a start," he said. "You ought to be in
Still she persisted, and went to McVickarís, where she could not
find any one. "The Old Homestead" was running there, but the
person to whom she was referred was not to be found.
These little expeditions took up her time until quite four oíclock,
when she was weary enough to go home. She felt as if she ought
to continue and inquire elsewhere, but the results so far were too
dispiriting. She took the car and arrived at Ogden Place in three-
quarters of an hour, but decided to ride on to the West Side branch
of the Post-office, where she was accustomed to receive
letters. There was one there now, written Saturday, which she tore
open and read with mingled feelings. There was so much warmth
in it and such tense complaint at her having failed to meet him,
and her subsequent silence, that she rather pitied the man. That he
loved her was evident enough. That he had wished and dared to
do so, married as he was, was the evil. She felt as if the thing
deserved an answer, and consequently decided that she would
write and let him know that she knew of his married state and was
justly incensed at his deception. She would tell him that it was all
over between them.
At her room, the wording of this missive occupied her for some
time, for she fell to the task at once. It was most difficult.
"You do not need to have me explain why I did not meet you,"
she wrote in part. "How could you deceive me so? You cannot
expect me to have anything more to do with you. I wouldnít under
any circumstances. Oh, how could you act so?" she added in a
burst of feeling. "You have caused me more misery than you can
think. I hope you will get over your infatuation for me. We must
not meet any more. Good-bye."
She took the letter the next morning, and at the corner dropped it
reluctantly into the letter-box, still uncertain as to whether she
should do so or not. Then she took the car and went down town.