She reached in her purse and took out one of the bills. The woman asked if she would wear the coat and went off. In a few minutes she was back and the purchase was closed.
From Partridge's they went to a shoe store, where Carrie was fitted for shoes. Drouet stood by, and when he saw how nice they looked, said, " Wear them." Carrie shook her head, however. She was thinking of running to the flat. He brought her a purse for one thing and a pair of gloves for another, and let her buy the stockings.
"To-morrow," he said, " you come down here and buy yourself a skirt." In all of Carrie's actions there was a touch of misgiving. The deeper she sank into the entanglement, the more she imagined that the thing hung upon the few remaining things she had not done. Since she had not done these, there was a way out.
Drouet knew a place in Wabash Avenue where there were rooms. He showed Carrie the outside of these, and said: " Now, you're my sister." He carried to the selection looking around, criticizing, opining. " Her trunk will be here in a day or so, he observed to the landlady, who was very pleased.
When they went alone, Drouet did not change in the least. He talked in the same general way as if they were out in the street. Carrie left her things.
"Now," said Drouet, " why don't you move to-night?"
"Oh, I can't," said Carrie.
"I don't want to leave them so."
He took that up as they walked along the avenue. It was a warm afternoon. The sun had come out and the wind had died down. As he talked with Carrie, he secured an accurate detail of the atmosphere of the flat.
"Come out of it," he said, " they won't care. I'll help you get along."
She listened until her misgiving vanished. He would show her about a little and then help her get something. He really imagined that he would. He would be out on the road and she could be working.
"Now, I'll tell you what you do," you go out there and get whatever you want and come away."
She though a long time about this. Finally she agreed. He would come out as far as Peoria Street and wait for her. She was to meet him at half-past eight. At half-past five she reached home, and at six her determination was hardened.
"So you didn't get it?" said Minnie, referring to Carrie's story of the Boston Store.
Carrie looked at her out of the corner of her eye. " No," she answered.
"I don't think you'd better try any more this fall," said Minnie.
Carrie said nothing.
When Hanson came home he wore the same inscrutable demeanor. He washed in silence and went off to read his paper. At dinner Carrie felt a little nervous. The strain of her own plans was considerable, and the feeling that she was not welcome here was strong.
"Didn't find anything, eh?" said Hanson.
He turned to his eating again, the though that it was a burden to have her here dwelling in his mind. She would have to go home, that was all. Once she was away, there would be no more coming back in the spring
Carrie was afraid of what she was going to do, but she was relieved to know that this condition was ending. They would not care. Hanson particularly would be glad when she went. He would not care what became of her.
After dinner she went into the bathroom, where they could not disturb her, and wrote a little note.
"Good-bye, Minnie," it read. " I'm not going home. I'm going to stay in Chicago a little while and look for work. Don't worry. I'll be all right."
In the front room Hanson was reading his paper. As usual, she helped Minnie clear away the dishes and straighten up. Then she:
"I guess I'll stand down at the door a little while." She could scarcely prevent her voice from trembling.
Minnie remembered Hanson's remonstrance.
"Sven doesn't think it looks good to stand down there," she said.
"Doesn't he?" said Carrie. " I won't do it any more after this."
She put on her hat and fidgeted around the table in the little bedroom, wondering where to slip the note. Finally she put it under Minnie's hair-brush.
When she had closed the hall-door, she paused a moment and wondered what they would think. Some thought of the queerness of her deed affected her. She went slowly down the stairs. She looked back up the lighted step, and then affected to stroll up the street. When she reached the corner she quickened her pace.
As she was hurrying away, Hanson came back to his wife.
"Is Carrie down at the door again?" he asked.
"Yes, said Minnie; " she said she wasn't going to do it any more."
He went over to the baby where it was playing on the floor and began to poke his finger at it.
Drouet was on the corner waiting, in good spirits.
"Hello, Carrie," he said, as a sprightly figure of a girl drew near him. " Got here safe, did you? Well, we'll take a car."