In his position opportunity for taking his evenings out wasexcellent. He was a most faithful worker in general, and a manwho commanded the confidence of his employers in so far as thedistribution of his time was concerned. He could take such hoursoff as he chose, for it was well known that he fulfilled hismanagerial duties successfully, whatever time he might take. Hisgrace, tact, and ornate appearance gave the place an air whichwas most essential, while at the same time his long experiencemade him a most excellent judge of its stock necessities.Bartenders and assistants might come and go, singly or in groups,but, so long as he was present, the host of old-time customerswould barely notice the change. He gave the place the atmosphereto which they were used. Consequently, he arranged his hoursvery much to suit himself, taking now an afternoon, now anevening, but invariably returning between eleven and twelve towitness the last hour or two of the day's business and look afterthe closing details.。， When she entered the room, however, her appearance gave himcourage. She looked simple and charming enough to strengthen thedaring of any lover. Her apparent nervousness dispelled his own.
。， "I don't know about that," she answered.Eventually she took off the ballroom episode with considerablefeeling, forgetting, as she got deeper in the scene, all aboutDrouet, and letting herself rise to a fine state of feeling.
On this Friday afternoon, scarcely two days after his previousvisit, he made up his mind to see Carrie. He could not stay awaylonger.。， Carrie could not have told herself at this moment whether she wasglad or sorry that the impressive manager was awaiting herpresence. She was slightly flurried and tingling in the cheeks,but it was more nervousness than either fear or favour. She didnot try to conjecture what the drift of the conversation wouldbe. She only felt that she must be careful, and that Hurstwoodhad an indefinable fascination for her. Then she gave her tieits last touch with her fingers and went below.
The reason for his interest, not to say fascination, was deeperthan mere desire. It was a flowering out of feelings which hadbeen withering in dry and almost barren soil for many years. Itis probable that Carrie represented a better order of woman thanhad ever attracted him before. He had had no love affair sincethat which culminated in his marriage, and since then time andthe world had taught him how raw and erroneous was his originaljudgment. Whenever he thought of it, he told himself that, if hehad it to do over again, he would never marry such a woman. Atthe same time, his experience with women in general had lessenedhis respect for the sex. He maintained a cynical attitude, wellgrounded on numerous experiences. Such women as he had knownwere of nearly one type, selfish, ignorant, flashy. The wives ofhis friends were not inspiring to look upon. His own wife haddeveloped a cold, commonplace nature which to him was anythingbut pleasing. What he knew of that under-world where grovel thebeat-men of society (and he knew a great deal) had hardened hisnature. He looked upon most women with suspicion--a single eyeto the utility of beauty and dress. He followed them with akeen, suggestive glance. At the same time, he was not so dullbut that a good woman commanded his respect. Personally, he didnot attempt to analyse the marvel of a saintly woman. He wouldtake off his hat, and would silence the light-tongued and thevicious in her presence--much as the Irish keeper of a Boweryhall will humble himself before a Sister of Mercy, and pay tollto charity with a willing and reverent hand. But he would notthink much upon the question of why he did so.。，