For one moment Rosing feared that she had confided her early history to Martens. Then, remembering with relief her immense capacities for reserve, he knew that this could not be so.
"Nonsense," he said sharply.
Martens continued, serious now: "In any case, I am a lonely man, and have few pleasures. It is long since I talked to any woman more fastidious than are my models and the poules with whom I sometimes spend a dreary evening. It is not much to ask that your ewe-lamb shall be confided to me for an hour or so. Can you really not trust me?"
Rosing, like most emotional people, was subject to swift changes of opinion. He now said abruptly, gripping Martens' hand:
"My friend, I am an unreasonable old rascal, and I beg your pardon. Mademoiselle Lina shall visit you this very day, if you consent, and I shall trust her without a qualm to your own most admirable sense of honor."
"You are my friend!" Martens agreed pompously.
Af ter this conversation there began for Lina a series of pleasant lazy afternoons. Martens' studio was big and bleak and very cold. It was also wildly untidy, being littered with piles of canvases, derelict easels, lay-figures, rusty suits of armor, dusty statues, heaps of shabby books, and chests of old and faded dresses. Martens himself, with his ugly hawklike face and harsh voice, seemed to Lina pathetic. He treated her with the impersonal familiarity that he would have accorded to a pet kitten. He talked to her for hours at a time, pouring forth as though she could not understand him, all his curious and bitter thoughts. He was gentier than Nurdo, and more tragic. Nor did he ever try to make love to her. Once he said to her, bluntly, casually:
"Do you know that Rosing is in love with you?"