common to her type and period, had at last decided upon the adventure of matrimony, selecting as her victim Alfred Varley, at that time a fairly prosperous low comedian.
The marriage was not a success. Alfred, hearty, sensual and improvident, never came near to understanding his wife. She was at once sullen, eager, calculating and ardent; she was intensely Jewish, which is the same as saying that she was intensely Oriental; she was morbid, fiery and inclined to be consumptive. The child Paulina was a dark little baby with the mournful eyes of a monkey; it was sickly and difficult to rear; when it was five its mother died of the disease that had haunted all her brief dissatisfied youth.
Her child, dragged up by a hundred indifferent landladies in a hundred squalid lodging-houses, miraculously overcame its early delicacy, growing into a strange elfish being, tiny, remote, fastidious, a prim Ariel with a passion for picture-books. When Paulina was six she was apprenticed to Madame Vanessi. The stage was her obvious destiny; whether she developed into actress or ballet-girl, a sound knowledge of classical and acrobatie dancing could not but be of assistance to her in her future career.
She was always wise for her age, silent and patiënt and uncomplaining. Her childhood had been bleak enough; she had trailed after her father through England, Scotland and Wales, trotting like his shadow in and out of innumerable dirty, dismal theaters, but at a period when babies of seven and eight slaved daily in airless factories nobody was particularly disposed to pity her plight. She had danced almost as soon as she had walked, and at first she had danced for joy, as children will, but by the time she was seven she was irrevocably caught in the spokes of a wheel named routine. The pupils of Madame Vanessi (an immensely old Italian, difficult to dissociate from her