Do you wish to be removed by force? Must I ring for Justine?"
"Please let me stay for a few minutes," she supplicated. "I was so lonely, and so cold, in my room. And your friends won't eat me. Please let me stay!"
"Your costume. Your tights "
"I was practising, to keep myself warm. I never thought you would mind."
Vanderkerk interrupted. "So this," he commented, putting on his spectacles, "is the Russian fairy! I congratulate you, Rosing."
"Yes," Lina said swiftly, "I am Russian, but I speak French, and English too."
"And your name, Mademoiselle?"
"Lina. Nothing else."
"But this is charming!" And he added, being proud of his Shakespearian knowledge, "No doubt our friend Rosing discovered you in a wood near Athens?"
Every one looked blank.
Rosing at length volunteered: "Mademoiselle Lina comes from my own country. She is here to study French."
He was conscious, as he spoke, that he had by no means explained the tights, and he had furthermore a miserable recollection of having once described her as too modest, too innocent for the presumably gross company of his friends. He now perceived that Martens was offering her a glass of wine, while upon the faces of all three glittered the insinuating, rather sly expression of elderly men who are anxious to create a favorable impression upon feminine and youthful grace.
"You dance, Mademoiselle?" the doctor was asking.
"Oh, a little, Monsieur."
This was too much. He interrupted harshly: "Mademoiselle does not dance—in public."