the entrance, stolid, well-behaved, dour of aspect— Flemish burgers and their families, prepared to take their pleasure solemnly enough.
Inside Nurdo's wagon Paulina, already dressed in her spangled tunic, bent over a few square inches of mirror the better to powder her neck and shoulders. Old Rambert talked often enough of dressing-tents for his artists, but the tra veling circus of 1845 was still far from these, and there occurred twice a day, with depressing regularity, this breathless scuffling from one costume to another in a cramped caravan little bigger than a rabbit hutch.
Paulina glanced out of the window and saw that the first number (dappled Arab ponies with manes and tails like silver fleece) already waited to go into the ring. And Nurdo had not come back. She tied the ribbons of her dancing sandals, found her tambourine and was ready. But there was no sign of Nurdo, so she went across to the bunk upon which dangled his scarlet tights and held the candle close to them, examining a darn that she had made only that morning. It was a good darn, and passed her test successfully. She sighed. They looked forlorn, these long limp empty tights, and ghost-like, as though they were really a part of the man himself and had grown weary of waiting for him. She reflected, not for the first time, that the tights were nothing without Nurdo and Nurdo, to be quite candid, not very much without the tights. And then, at last, he came into the wagon.
He wore his greatcoat, with the rather moth-eaten fur collar buttoned up to his chin, and his hands were buried deep in his pockets. His wild fuzzy black hair stood up in a mop round his head, and his long face looked sallow, greenish. He gaped at her and asked why she was ready so early.
"It's not early. It's late. Take off your coat and I'll hang it up."