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"She asks only in return," said Carrie, scarcely hearing the small,
scheduled reply of her lover, and putting herself even more in
harmony with the plaintive melody now issuing from the
orchestra, "that when you look upon her your eyes shall speak
devotion; that when you address her your voice shall be gentle,
loving, and kind; that you shall not despise her because she cannot
understand all at once your vigorous thoughts and ambitious
designs; for, when misfortune and evil have defeated your greatest
purposes, her love remains to console you. You look to the trees,"
she continued, while Hurstwood restrained his feelings only by
the grimmest repression, "for strength and grandeur; do not
despise the flowers because their fragrance is all they have to
give. Remember," she concluded, tenderly, "love is all a woman
has to give," and she laid a strange, sweet accent on the all, "but it
is the only thing which God permits us to carry beyond the
The two men were in the most harrowed state of affection. They
scarcely heard the few remaining words with which the scene
concluded. They only saw their idol, moving about with appealing
grace, continuing a power which to them was a revelation.
Hurstwood resolved a thousand things, Drouet as well. They
joined equally in the burst of applause which called Carrie out.
Drouet pounded his hands until they ached. Then he jumped up
again and started out. As he went, Carrie came out, and, seeing an
immense basket of flowers being hurried down the aisle toward
her, she waited. They were Hurstwood’s. She looked toward the
manager’s box for a moment, caught his eye, and smiled. He
could have leaped out of the box to enfold her. He forgot the need
of circumspectness which his married state enforced. He almost
forgot that he had with him in the box those who knew him. By
the Lord, he would have that lovely girl if it took his all. He
would act at once. This should be the end of Drouet, and don’t
you forget it. He would not wait another day. The drummer
should not have her.
He was so excited that he could not stay in the box. He went into
the lobby, and then into the street, thinking. Drouet did not return.
In a few minutes the last act was over, and he was crazy to have
Carrie alone. He cursed the luck that could keep him smiling,
bowing, shamming, when he wanted to tell her that he loved her,
when he wanted to whisper to her alone. He groaned as he saw
that his hopes were futile. He must even take her to supper,
shamming. He finally went about and asked how she was getting
along. The actors were all dressing, talking, hurrying about.
Drouet was palavering himself with the looseness of excitement
and passion. The manager mastered himself only by a great effort.
"We are going to supper, of course," he said, with a voice that was
a mockery of his heart.
"Oh, yes," said Carrie, smiling.
The little actress was in fine feather. She was realising now what
it was to be petted. For once she was the admired, the sought-for.
The independence of success now made its first faint showing.
With the tables turned, she was looking down, rather than up, to
her lover. She did not fully realise that this was so, but there was
something in condescension coming from her which was
infinitely sweet. When she was ready they climbed into the
waiting coach and drove down town; once, only, did she find an
opportunity to express her feeling, and that was when the manager
preceded Drouet in the coach and sat beside her. Before Drouet
was fully in she had squeezed Hurstwood’s hand in a gentle,
The manager was beside himself with affection. He could have
sold his soul to be with her alone. "Ah," he thought, "the agony of
Drouet hung on, thinking he was all in all. The dinner was spoiled
by his enthusiasm. Hurstwood went home feeling as if he should
die if he did not find affectionate relief. He whispered "to-
morrow" passionately to Carrie, and she understood. He walked
away from the drummer and his prize at parting feeling as if he
could slay him and not regret. Carrie also felt the misery of it.
"Good-night," he said, simulating an easy friendliness.
"Good-night," said the little actress, tenderly.
"The fool!" he said, now hating Drouet. "The idiot! I’ll do him
yet, and that quick! We’ll see to-morrow."
"Well, if you aren’t a wonder," Drouet was saying, complacently,
squeezing Carrie’s arm. "You are the dandiest little girl on earth."