They were at their little table in the room which might have beenused for a kitchen, where Carrie occasionally served a meal. To-night the fancy had caught her, and the little table was spreadwith a pleasing repast.。， Hurstwood was interestedly remarking to Carrie.
"Not a word, then, until I see you again."。， He had been looking for some time for a break in the conversationwhen he could give it a serious turn. Once or twice he had heldhis peace, hoping that in silence her thoughts would take thecolour of his own, but she had lightly continued the subject.Presently, however, his silence controlled the situation. Thedrift of his thoughts began to tell. He gazed fixedly at nothingin particular, as if he were thinking of something whichconcerned her not at all. His thoughts, however, spoke forthemselves. She was very much aware that a climax was pending.
。， Hurstwood had gone, at Drouet's invitation, to meet a new baggageof fine clothes and pretty features. He entered, expecting toindulge in an evening of lightsome frolic, and then lose track ofthe newcomer forever. Instead he found a woman whose youth andbeauty attracted him. In the mild light of Carrie's eye wasnothing of the calculation of the mistress. In the diffidentmanner was nothing of the art of the courtesan. He saw at oncethat a mistake had been made, that some difficult conditions hadpushed this troubled creature into his presence, and his interestwas enlisted. Here sympathy sprang to the rescue, but it was notunmixed with selfishness. He wanted to win Carrie because hethought her fate mingled with his was better than if it wereunited with Drouet's. He envied the drummer his conquest as hehad never envied any man in all the course of his experience.
。， Finally he hit upon one of those problematical propositions whichoften disguise our own desires while leading us to anunderstanding of the difficulties which others make for us, andso discover for us a way. It had not the slightest connectionwith anything intended on his part, and was spoken at randombefore he had given it a moment's serious thought.
， "You'd like that. I know you would. I've seen you dancingaround here and giving imitations and that's why I asked you.You're clever enough, all right."。， He took the part home to Carrie and handed it to her with themanner of one who does a favour.