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In time she began to feel that a change had come about, and that
she was not in his confidence. He was evidently secretive and
kept his own counsel. She found herself asking him questions
about little things. This is a disagreeable state to a woman. Great
love makes it seem reasonable, sometimes plausible, but never
satisfactory. Where great love is not, a more definite and less
satisfactory conclusion is reached.
As for Hurstwood, he was making a great fight against the
difficulties of a changed condition. He was too shrewd not to
realise the tremendous mistake he had made, and appreciate that
he had done well in getting where he was, and yet he could not
help contrasting his present state with his former, hour after hour,
and day after day.
Besides, he had the disagreeable fear of meeting old-time friends,
ever since one such encounter which he made shortly after his
arrival in the city. It was in Broadway that he saw a man
approaching him whom he knew. There was no time for
simulating non-recognition. The exchange of glances had been too
sharp, the knowledge of each other too apparent. So the friend, a
buyer for one of the Chicago wholesale houses, felt, perforce, the
necessity of stopping.
"How are you?" he said, extending his hand with an evident
mixture of feeling and a lack of plausible interest.
"Very well," said Hurstwood, equally embarrassed. "How is it
"All right; Iím down here doing a little buying. Are you located
"Yes," said Hurstwood, "I have a place down in Warren Street."
"Is that so?" said the friend. "Glad to hear it. Iíll come down and
"Do," said Hurstwood.
"So long," said the other, smiling affably and going on.
"He never asked for my number," thought Hurstwood; "he
wouldnít think of coming." He wiped his forehead, which had
grown damp, and hoped sincerely he would meet no one else.
These things told upon his good-nature, such as it was. His one
hope was that things would change for the better in a money way.
He had Carrie. His furniture was being paid for. He was
maintaining his position. As for Carrie, the amusements he could
give her would have to do for the present. He could probably keep
up his pretensions sufficiently long without exposure to make
good, and then all would be well. He failed therein to take account
of the frailties of human nature-the difficulties of matrimonial life.
Carrie was young. With him and with her varying mental states
were common. At any moment the extremes of feeling might be
anti-polarised at the dinner table. This often happens in the best
regulated families. Little things brought out on such occasions
need great love to obliterate them afterward. Where that is not,
both parties count two and two and make a problem after a while.