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He said casually, not looking at her:

"Would you like to come with me?"


"Where? All over the world. Once before, in Russia, I had a young lady who assisted me with my act. She handed me my props, standing back-stage, oh, very pretty, dressed in bright clothes—spangles. You could do that, and dance too, while I make my quick change. I would pay. . . ." He hesitated, made a swift calculation and ceased altogether to be the lover. He concluded, practically: "I could pay you at first not at all. No salary. But your keep and your food—I would give you those."

"I can't come, Nurdo."

"But why? Why? You say you have no work. I offer you work—I, Nurdo, the Great Nurdo! Why, then?"

She said, sighing: "My father wouldn't like me to go away from England."

"Your father? I do not think that he cares very much about you. Look, he is down-stairs now, with that fat pig of a woman in his arms, while you are up-stairs, here, with me. Does that look as though he minded what you do?"

"He doesn't know."

But she sighed. Nurdo continued to watch her. He was now quite certain that he wanted her with him—his desire having been accentuated by the practical advantages (that had only just occurred to him) of her talent as a dancer. It was always a good investment, in an act such as his—this producing of a pretty girl to divert the attention of the audience while he made such changes of costume and apparatus as custom decreed. And he found Paulina enchanting. He thought of living with her, alone with her, in the caravans and doss-houses where he was