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Drouet, all the time, was conducting himself in a model way for
one of his sort. He took her about a great deal, spent money upon
her, and when he travelled took her with him. There were times
when she would be alone for two or three days, while he made the
shorter circuits of his business, but, as a rule, she saw a great deal
"Say, Carrie," he said one morning, shortly after they had so
established themselves, "Iíve invited my friend Hurstwood to
come out some day and spend the evening with us."
"Who is he?" asked Carrie, doubtfully.
"Oh, heís a nice man. Heís manager of Fitzgerald and Moyís."
"Whatís that?" said Carrie.
"The finest resort in town. Itís a way-up, swell place."
Carrie puzzled a moment. She was wondering what Drouet had
told him, what her attitude would be.
"Thatís all right," said Drouet, feeling her thought. "He doesnít
know anything. Youíre Mrs. Drouet now."
There was something about this which struck Carrie as slightly
inconsiderate. She could see that Drouet did not have the keenest
"Why donít we get married?" she inquired, thinking of the voluble
promises he had made.
"Well, we will," he said, "just as soon as I get this little deal of
mine closed up."
He was referring to some property which he said he had, and
which required so much attention, adjustment, and what not, that
somehow or other it interfered with his free moral, personal
"Just as soon as I get back from my Denver trip in January weíll
Carrie accepted this as basis for hope-it was a sort of salve to her
conscience, a pleasant way out. Under the circumstances, things
would be righted. Her actions would be justified.
She really was not enamoured of Drouet. She was more clever
than he. In a dim way, she was beginning to see where he lacked.
If it had not been for this, if she had not been able to measure and
judge him in a way, she would have been worse off than she was.
She would have adored him. She would have been utterly
wretched in her fear of not gaining his affection, of losing his
interest, of being swept away and left without an anchorage. As it
was, she wavered a little, slightly anxious, at first, to gain him
completely, but later feeling at ease in waiting. She was not
exactly sure what she thought of him-what she wanted to do.
When Hurstwood called, she met a man who was more clever
than Drouet in a hundred ways. He paid that peculiar deference to
women which every member of the sex appreciates. He was not
overawed, he was not overbold. His great charm was
attentiveness. Schooled in winning those birds of fine feather
among his own sex, the merchants and professionals who visited
his resort, he could use even greater tact when endeavouring to
prove agreeable to some one who charmed him. In a pretty
woman of any refinement of feeling whatsoever he found his
greatest incentive. He was mild, placid, assured, giving the
impression that he wished to be of service only-to do something
which would make the lady more pleased.