her that Monsieur Stanislas Rosing inhabited a house in the quai des Augustins. But Paulina had never heard of Stanislas Rosing, for the simple reason that the pupils of Madame Vanessi had always been more preoccupied with their own immediate and precarious future than with the past glories of their profession.
She undressed, propping the card before her eyes; without it she would have been certain that she had dreamed this strange adventure. Even with the card she could not be quite sure. Pulling on her nightgown, she began to brush her hair. Then suddenly she smiled.
For the first time in her life some one (and a swell at that) had discovered in her dancing something admirable. He had taken the trouble to offer her his congratulations in person, he had scarcely seemed even to notice the performance of Nurdo the splendid. She reflected. Of course she could never leave Nurdo! Nurdo had been kind to her in his strange and rather selfish way; he had delivered her from the fog and slavery of Kennington; of late he had been ill and unhappy. Of course she could never leave him. She got into bed.
Now that she had sacrificed something for Nurdo, something tangible, something that she could understand, she was nearer to loving him than she had ever been. She would never, now, become a ballerina. She would remain what Monsieur Rosing had called a "vulgar acrobat." She lay very still in bed with her dark hair spread upon the pillow and her hands folded on her breast.
She shut her eyes and wished with all her heart for her lover to return. She would not be happy until she had reassured herself that he was an artist, not a vulgar acrobat; yet she knew that she would not really be reassuring herself. She would be reassuring Nurdo.
And she wondered, before she slept, whether she would ever have become a prima ballerina.