"Yes." He sipped his brandy. "Yes. That is my intention. But not for a few years, and not for pleasure when I do. No. I shall travel on business. Paris, London, Milan—perhaps America as well."
He paused, the glass still in his hand. They were not listening to him. They were not even looking at him. Their eyes were fixed upon the door. He turned his head.
The room was in darkness, but she was plainly visible, for she carried a taper in her hand and held it high above her head. She stood there facing them with an expression half mischievous, half fearful. Her face was vivid, her dark hair hung loose upon her shoulders, and she wore flesh-colored tights. This, to his mind, was the crowning insolence—even if she had come among them uninvited she might at least have worn one of the modest white muslin dresses she had made for herself with the assistance of Justine. But no. She had chosen, wickedly enough, a wisp of tulle and, most damning of all, the pink tights, still at that epoch considered objects of depravity even when graced by the ladies of the ballet. She appeared thus among his friends as a dancer, and no doubt desired to dance for them. He shouted angrily in English:
"Go away! Do you hear what I sayl Go away immediately!"
But Paul Martens climbed to his feet with dignity. "Gently, Bluebeard! Let us on no account frighten the lady. Will you not present her to your friends?"
And the doctor: "Pay no attention, Mademoiselle, to this Russian bear, but let me assure you that we, his friends, have been for many days thirsting to make your acquaintance. May I offer you a chair?"
"Thank you," said Lina.
She advanced demurely, with a placating smile at Rosing, and sat down on the extreme edge of the chair.
He continued, in English: "Do you hear what I say?