there is no necessity for our dinner to be disturbed by a child's prank. More brandy, gentlemen?"
When they went into the salon Lina awaited them, demure as a snowdrop in her white dimity dress and frilled pantalettes. With plainly combed hair, downcast eyes, and gentle graceful movements she had become so much the jeune fille that all ribaldry immediately ceased, and the ceremonious respect with which she was treated almost reassured Rosing. In precisely half an hour she folded up her needlework, curtsied to the gentlemen, and retired without so much as a hint from her patron.
When they had left the house she reappeared, to apologize, she said.
"I am furious," Rosing told her sternly.
"Please, please forgive me! I assure you I meant no harm. But why should you mind my meeting your friends? I begin to think," she continued reproachfully, "that you must be ashamed of me."
"Like all women, you talk nonsense. I wish only for you to concentrate your mind upon your work."
"But," she objected, "seeing three old gentlemen for half an hour will not make me dance any worse tomorrow."
"It's to be hoped not! In any case, to burst uninvited upon a reunion of gentlemen, wearing pink tights for no apparent reason, must strike any educated person as a gross breach of taste."
"But I am not an educated person," said Lina.
"Qa se voit," Rosing told her irritably.
"And I assure you," she continued penitently, "that I won't misbehave myself in future. Only it is lonely sometimes when your friends are here, and Justine was cross to-night and wouldn't have me in the kitchen."
"Good, good. And now to bed with you."