him so indignantly that he leaned forward, patted her hand and said in a gentier tone of voice:
"You must forgive me, Mademoiselle, for speaking warmly. I behave like one of your bears here at the circus, when it has a bad head. I can only apologize. But at the same time I must explain that watching you dance to-night has brought back to me strange memories of the past, and I have been much moved. You have such promise, I think that you are a natural dancer, and it breaks my heart to see you capering in a circus-ring when I know that you should be at school in Milan learning the rudiments of your profession. At fifteen to perform at all in public is very bad, but to debase yourself by giving the performance you give, that is worse than very bad. That is shocking! Teil me, my child, would your parents not permit you to train for the ballet?"
"I haven't any parents," she said, "my mother is dead and I left my father some time ago."
"But surely you are not alone here?"
"Alone? No. I am with my partner, the juggler."
"Ah, the juggler! It is extraordinary how easily I forget that man! Such a fine fellow, too." He looked at her slyly and added: "And you would of course miss the juggler more than life itself if ever you left him?"
"I don't think so," she began and was perplexed to find how vague, how difficult to define were her exact feelings toward Nurdo. She explained af ter a pause:
"No, I don't think that I would miss him. But all the same I could not leave him. Not perhaps because I love him so very much, but because we have grown accustomed to each other, and I know his ways. And he has not been very well lately. He needs some one to look after him."
"I see." And the elderly gentleman nodded his head in a very knowing fashion.