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At about that hour, Minnie was soundly sleeping, after a long
evening of troubled thought. She had her elbow in an awkward
position under her side. The muscles so held irritated a few
nerves, and now a vague scene floated in on the drowsy mind. She
fancied she and Carrie were somewhere beside an old coal-mine.
She could see the tall runway and the heap of earth and coal cast
out. There was a deep pit, into which they were looking; they
could see the curious wet stones far down where the wall
disappeared in vague shadows. An old basket, used for
descending, was hanging there, fastened by a worn rope.
"Letís get in," said Carrie.
"Oh, no," said Minnie.
"Yes, come on," said Carrie.
She began to pull the basket over, and now, in spite of all protest,
she had swung over and was going down.
"Carrie," she called, "Carrie, come back;" but Carrie was far down
now and the shadow had swallowed her completely.
She moved her arm.
Now the mystic scenery merged queerly and the place was by
waters she had never seen. They were upon some board or ground
or something that reached far out, and at the end of this was
Carrie. They looked about, and now the thing was sinking, and
Minnie heard the low sip of the encroaching water.
"Come on, Carrie," she called, but Carrie was reaching farther out.
She seemed to recede, and now it was difficult to call to her.
"Carrie," she called, "Carrie," but her own voice sounded far
away, and the strange waters were blurring everything. She came
away suffering as though she had lost something. She was more
inexpressibly sad than she had even been in life.
It was this way through many shifts of the tired brain, those
curious phantoms of the spirit slipping in, blurring strange scenes,
one with the other. The last one made her cry out, for Carrie was
slipping away somewhere over a rock, and her fingers had let
loose and she had seen her falling.
"Minnie! Whatís the matter? Here, wake up," said Hanson,
disturbed, and shaking her by the shoulder.
"Wha-whatís the matter?" said Minnie, drowsily.
"Wake up," he said, "and turn over. Youíre talking in your sleep."
--A week or so later Drouet strolled into Fitzgerald and Moyís,
spruce in dress and manner.
"Hello, Charley," said Hurstwood, looking out from his office
Drouet strolled over and looked in upon the manager at his desk.
"When do you go out on the road again?" he inquired.
"Pretty soon," said Drouet.
"Havenít seen much of you this trip," said Hurstwood.
"Well, Iíve been busy," said Drouet.
They talked some few minutes on general topics.
"Say," said Drouet, as if struck by a sudden idea, "I want you to
come out some evening."
"Out where?" inquired Hurstwood.
"Out to my house, of course," said Drouet, smiling.
Hurstwood looked up quizzically, the least suggestion of a smile
hovering about his lips. He studied the face of Drouet in his wise
way, and then with the demeanour of a gentleman, said:
"Certainly; glad to."
"Weíll have a nice game of euchre."
"May I bring a nice little bottle of Sec?" asked Hurstwood.
"Certainly," said Drouet. "Iíll introduce you."