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"Rosing? You must be mad. What has put such an idea into your head?"

"He is in love with you. As yet he doesn't know it. And I am not sure whether he is in love with you yourself or with his ideal of you—the dancer. But I am sure of one thing—he is obsessed by you."

"What nonsense you talk!"

"No, really, it isn't nonsense," said Martens coldly. He added after a pause: "Do you like coming here?"

"Of course I do."

"You are a strange girl. I think you must once have been very lonely. I know, because I, too, have been lonely. Listen, Lina, I myself could never be in love with you. Never, never. You are too elusive, too delicate, for my gross tastes. But I think that when you grow older many men will love you, and I think that they will be unhappy, for your heart is not easy to touch. But you have all the glamour of your race."

"Do you think I am so very Russian?"

"Russian!" He laughed contemptuously. "You are no more Russian than I am. You're a Jewess."

"Only half."

"God knows," he said, "where you come from. I neither care, nor want you to teil me.. I suppose that you were born an artist, and there is no nationality for such as you. I expect that you will one day be a great artist, for you have exactly the temperament, combined with the cold concentration, that should lead you to success. And where you go, Rosing will follow. Rosing has staked everything on you. If you fail, you will break his heart."

Lina said thoughtfully: "I don't think that I will fail. And yet it's difficult to say. Shall I make the tea now?"

"Yes."

He lighted his pipe and sat down on an oak chest by the fire, watching her moodily. He remarked at length:

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