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As a result of this, she noticed a shade of thought pass over his
face, as if he were beginning to realise that things were changed.
Good-nature dictated something better than this for one who had
always liked her.
"You come around to the hotel to-morrow," she said, as sort of
penance for error. "You can take dinner with me."
"All right," said Drouet, brightening. "Where are you stopping?"
"At the Waldorf," she answered, mentioning the fashionable
hostelry then but newly erected.
"Well, come at three," said Carrie, pleasantly.
The next day Drouet called, but it was with no especial delight
that Carrie remembered her appointment. However, seeing him,
handsome as ever, after his kind, and most genially disposed, her
doubts as to whether the dinner would be disagreeable were swept
away. He talked as volubly as ever.
"They put on a lot of lugs here, donít they?" was his first remark.
"Yes; they do," said Carrie.
Genial egotist that he was, he went at once into a detailed account
of his own career.
"Iím going to have a business of my own pretty soon," he
observed in one place. "I can get backing for two hundred
Carrie listened most good-naturedly.
"Say," he said, suddenly; "where is Hurstwood now?"
Carrie flushed a little.
"Heís here in New York, I guess," she said. "I havenít seen him
for some time."
Drouet mused for a moment. He had not been sure until now that
the ex-manager was not an influential figure in the background.
He imagined not; but this assurance relieved him. It must be that
Carrie had got rid of him-as well she ought, he thought.
"A man always makes a mistake when he does anything like that,"
"Like what?" said Carrie, unwitting of what was coming.
"Oh, you know," and Drouet waved her intelligence, as it were,
with his hand.
"No, I donít," she answered. "What do you mean?"
"Why that affair in Chicago-the time he left."
"I donít know what you are talking about," said Carrie. Could it
be he would refer so rudely to Hurstwoodís flight with her?
"Oho!" said Drouet, incredulously. "You knew he took ten
thousand dollars with him when he left, didnít you?"
"What!" said Carrie. "You donít mean to say he stole money, do
"Why," said Drouet, puzzled at her tone, "you knew that, didnít
"Why, no," said Carrie. "Of course I didnít."
"Well, thatís funny," said Drouet. "He did, you know. It was in all
"How much did you say he took?" said Carrie.
"Ten thousand dollars. I heard he sent most of it back afterwards,
Carrie looked vacantly at the richly carpeted floor. A new light
was shining upon all the years since her enforced flight. She
remembered now a hundred things that indicated as much. She
also imagined that he took it on her account. Instead of hatred
springing up there was a kind of sorrow generated. Poor fellow!
What a thing to have had hanging over his head all the time.
At dinner Drouet, warmed up by eating and drinking and softened
in mood, fancied he was winning Carrie to her old-time good-
natured regard for him. He began to imagine it would not be so
difficult to enter into her life again, high as she was. Ah, what a
prize! he thought. How beautiful, how elegant, how famous! In
her theatrical and Waldorf setting, Carrie was to him the all-