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Drouetís assurance now misgave him. Shallow as was his mental
observation, there was that in the things which had happened
which made his little power of analysis useless. Carrie was still
with him, but not helpless and pleading. There was a lilt in her
voice which was new. She did not study him with eyes expressive
of dependence. The drummer was feeling the shadow of
something which was coming. It coloured his feelings and made
him develop those little attentions and say those little words
which were mere forefendations against danger.
Shortly afterward he departed, and Carrie prepared for her
meeting with Hurstwood. She hurried at her toilet, which was
soon made, and hastened down the stairs. At the corner she passed
Drouet, but they did not see each other.
The drummer had forgotten some bills which he wished to turn
into his house. He hastened up the stairs and burst into the room,
but found only the chambermaid, who was cleaning up.
"Hello," he exclaimed, half to himself, "has Carrie gone?"
"Your wife? Yes, she went out just a few minutes ago."
"Thatís strange," thought Drouet. "She didnít say a word to me. I
wonder where she went?"
He hastened about, rummaging in his valise for what he wanted,
and finally pocketing it. Then he turned his attention to his fair
neighbour, who was good-looking and kindly disposed towards
"What are you up to?" he said, smiling.
"Just cleaning," she replied, stopping and winding a dusting towel
about her hand.
"Tired of it?"
"Not so very."
"Let me show you something," he said, affably, coming over and
taking out of his pocket a little lithographed card which had been
issued by a wholesale tobacco company. On this was printed a
picture of a pretty girl, holding a striped parasol, the colours of
which could be changed by means of a revolving disk in
the back, which showed red, yellow, green, and blue through little
interstices made in the ground occupied by the umbrella top.
"Isnít that clever?" he said, handing it to her and showing her how
it worked. "You never saw anything like that before."
"Isnít it nice?" she answered.
"You can have it if you want it," he remarked.
"Thatís a pretty ring you have," he said, touching a commonplace
setting which adorned the hand holding the card he had given her.
"Do you think so?"
"Thatís right," he answered, making use of a pretence at
examination to secure her finger. "Thatís fine."
The ice being thus broken, he launched into further observation,
pretending to forget that her fingers were still retained by his. She
soon withdrew them, however, and retreated a few feet to rest
against the window-sill.
"I didnít see you for a long time," she said, coquettishly, repulsing
one of his exuberant approaches. "You must have been away."
"I was," said Drouet.
"Do you travel far?"
"Do you like it?"
"Oh, not very well. You get tired of it after a while."
"I wish I could travel," said the girl, gazing idly out of the
"What has become of your friend, Hurstwood?" she suddenly
asked, bethinking herself of the manager, who, from her own
observation, seemed to contain promising material.
"Heís here in town. What makes you ask about him?"
"Oh, nothing, only he hasnít been here since you got back."
"How did you come to know him?"
"Didnít I take up his name a dozen times in the last month?"