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Hurstwood rose and took the money, slipping on his overcoat and
getting his hat. Carrie noticed that both of these articles of apparel
were old and poor looking in appearance. It was plain enough
before, but now it came home with peculiar force. Perhaps he
couldn’t help it, after all. He had done well in Chicago. She
remembered his fine appearance the days he had met her in the
park. Then he was so sprightly, so clean. Had it been all his fault?
He came back and laid the change down with the food.
"You’d better keep it," she observed. "We’ll need other things."
"No," he said, with a sort of pride; "you keep it."
"Oh, go on and keep it," she replied, rather unnerved. "There’ll be
He wondered at this, not knowing the pathetic figure he had
become in her eyes. She restrained herself with difficulty from
showing a quaver in her voice.
To say truly, this would have been Carrie’s attitude in any case.
She had looked back at times upon her parting from Drouet and
had regretted that she had served him so badly. She hoped she
would never meet him again, but she was ashamed of her conduct.
Not that she had any choice in the final separation. She had gone
willingly to seek him, with sympathy in her heart, when
Hurstwood had reported him ill. There was something cruel
somewhere, and not being able to track it mentally to its logical
lair, she concluded with feeling that he would never understand
what Hurstwood had done and would see hard-hearted decision in
her deed; hence her shame. Not that she cared for him. She did not
want to make any one who had been good to her feel badly.
She did not realise what she was doing by allowing these feelings
to possess her. Hurstwood, noticing the kindness, conceived better
of her. "Carrie’s good-natured, anyhow," he thought.
Going to Miss Osborne’s that afternoon, she found that little lady
packing and singing.
"Why don’t you come over with me to-day?" she asked.
"Oh, I can’t," said Carrie. "I’ll be there Friday. Would you mind
lending me the twenty-five dollars you spoke of?"
"Why, no," said Lola, going for her purse.
"I want to get some other things," said Carrie.
"Oh, that’s all right," answered the little girl, good-naturedly, glad
to be of service.
It had been days since Hurstwood had done more than go to the
grocery or to the news-stand. Now the weariness of indoors was
upon him-had been for two days-but chill, grey weather had held
him back. Friday broke fair and warm. It was one of those lovely
harbingers of spring, given as a sign in dreary winter that earth is
not forsaken of warmth and beauty. The blue heaven, holding its
one golden orb, poured down a crystal wash of warm light. It was
plain, from the voice of the sparrows, that all was halcyon outside.
Carrie raised the front windows, and felt the south wind blowing.
"It’s lovely out to-day," she remarked.
"Is it?" said Hurstwood.
After breakfast, he immediately got his other clothes.
"Will you be back for lunch?" asked Carrie, nervously.
"No," he said.
He went out into the streets and tramped north, along Seventh
Avenue, idly fixing upon the Harlem River as an objective point.
He had seen some ships up there, the time he had called upon the
brewers. He wondered how the territory thereabouts was growing.
Passing Fifty-ninth Street, he took the west side of Central Park,
which he followed to Seventy-eighth Street. Then he remembered
the neighbourhood and turned over to look at the mass of
buildings erected. It was very much improved. The great open
spaces were filling up. Coming back, he kept to the Park until
110th Street, and then turned into Seventh Avenue again, reaching
the pretty river by one o’clock.
There it ran winding before his gaze, shining brightly in the clear
light, between the undulating banks on the right and the tall, tree-
covered heights on the left. The spring-like atmosphere woke him
to a sense of its loveliness, and for a few moments he stood
looking at it, folding his hands behind his back. Then he turned
and followed it toward the east side, idly seeking the ships he had
seen. It was four o’clock before the waning day, with its
suggestion of a cooler evening, caused him to return. He was
hungry and would enjoy eating in the warm room.