of great and brilliant theaters entirely devoted to the worship of ballet, of dancers more revered than were the pale saints of the ikons, of the present day, of Taglioni, Elssler, Grisi and Cerito. Vivid names, like notes of music. She shut her eyes and saw a long procession of ballerinas, silver-shod, more palely graceful than swans, garlanded with the dark leaves of laurel and bay, dancing correctly throughout the years, tireless, smiling, immortal.
"And now, we will talk of these Russian verbs."
"No, no! Not verbs, dancers. Please teil me more."
"What else do you want me to teil you? That a dancer must live with the austerity of a trained athlete? That a dancer must deny herself those things so essential to other women—a home, a husband, children? I have already told you that the theater must be your home, that you will in all probability have no husband, and that your children can only be the little notes of music to which you weave your steps."
And so he talked, desperately serious, all the more determined to convince this novice because he, who had lived so long, had seen too many ballerinas wrecked for love. He said, diplomatically sprinkling her powder with jam: "Later on, if you want a protector, a solid wealthy man, then take one. But your heart, that you must never lose. Never, never. Those things are not for you."
But Lina was not attracted by the idea of a protector, however solid, however wealthy. Nor, like most young girls, had she any pretty dreams of a vague, fairy-tale lover who would one day inevitably come to claim her. Nurdo had unconsciously taught her to think of love as an overrated business, and she was still too ignorant to realize that she had never loved the juggler.
She said happily: "I don't want to lose my heart. I never will. And now teil me some more, much more, about the ballet."