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"Look at that woman’s dress over there," he said, again turning to
Carrie, and nodding in a direction.
"Where?" said Carrie, following his eyes.
"Over there in the corner-way over. Do you see that brooch?"
"Isn’t it large?" said Carrie.
"One of the largest clusters of jewels I have ever seen," said
"It is, isn’t it?" said Carrie. She felt as if she would like to be
agreeable to this young man, and also there came with it, or
perhaps preceded it, the slightest shade of a feeling that he was
better educated than she was-that his mind was better. He seemed
to look it, and the saving grace in Carrie was that she could under-
stand that people could be wiser. She had seen a number of people
in her life who reminded her of what she had vaguely come to
think of as scholars. This strong young man beside her, with his
clear, natural look, seemed to get a hold of things which she did
not quite understand, but approved of. It was fine to be so, as a
man, she thought.
The conversation changed to a book that was having its vogue at
the time-" Moulding a Maiden," by Albert Ross. Mrs. Vance had
read it. Vance had seen it discussed in some of the papers.
"A man can make quite a strike writing a book," said Vance. "I
notice this fellow Ross is very much talked about." He was
looking at Carrie as he spoke.
"I hadn’t heard of him," said Carrie, honestly.
"Oh, I have," said Mrs. Vance. "He’s written lots of things. This
last story is pretty good."
"He doesn’t amount to much," said Ames.
Carrie turned her eyes toward him as to an oracle.
"His stuff is nearly as bad as ‘Dora Thorne,’" concluded Ames.
Carrie felt this as a personal reproof. She read "Dora Thorne," or
had a great deal in the past. It seemed only fair to her, but she
supposed that people thought it very fine. Now this clear-eyed,
fine-headed youth, who looked something like a student to her,
made fun of it. It was poor to him, not worth reading. She looked
down, and for the first time felt the pain of not understanding.
Yet there was nothing sarcastic or supercilious in the way Ames
spoke. He had very little of that in him. Carrie felt that it was just
kindly thought of a high order-the right thing to think, and
wondered what else was right, according to him. He seemed to
notice that she listened and rather sympathised with him, and from
now on he talked mostly to her.
As the waiter bowed and scraped about, felt the dishes to see if
they were hot enough, brought spoons and forks, and did all those
little attentive things calculated to impress the luxury of the
situation upon the diner, Ames also leaned slightly to one side and
told her of Indianapolis in an intelligent way. He really had a very
bright mind, which was finding its chief development in electrical
knowledge. His sympathies for other forms of information,
however, and for types of people, were quick and warm. The red
glow on his head gave it a sandy tinge and put a bright glint in his
eye. Carrie noticed all these things as he leaned toward her and
felt exceedingly young. This man was far ahead of her. He
seemed wiser than Hurstwood, saner and brighter than Drouet. He
seemed innocent and clean, and she thought that he was
exceedingly pleasant. She noticed, also, that his interest in her was
a far-off one. She was not in his life, nor any of the things
that touched his life, and yet now, as he spoke of these things,
they appealed to her.
"I shouldn’t care to be rich," he told her, as the dinner proceeded
and the supply of food warmed up his sympathies; "not rich
enough to spend my money this way."
"Oh, wouldn’t you?" said Carrie, the, to her, new attitude forcing
itself distinctly upon her for the first time.
"No," he said. "What good would it do? A man doesn’t need this
sort of thing to be happy."
Carrie thought of this doubtfully; but, coming from him, it had
"He probably could be happy," she thought to herself, "all alone.
He’s so strong."