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"Sans blague, where did you find the girl?"

"Are you interested in her?" asked Rosing with an affectation of indifference.

"Oh, interested. . . . She has the usual faults—her deportment's poor—not enough experience. But there is undoubtedly a certain quality."

"Undoubtedly," Rosing agreed sardonically.

They looked at each other for a moment, then burst out laughing.

"Congratulations!" And Villeneuve shook him impulsively by the hand.

"Come now!" said Rosing confidentially, "and it's my turn to say 'sans blague' what do you really think of my pupil?"

The Italian said simply: "I think that just now we have seen a prodigy!"

"Ah!"

"What do you intend to do with the girl?"

"She needs experience. I want her to dance here in the corps de ballet for a few months."

"You may be right, my friend. And after?"

"After?" He smiled. "After? Chï lo sa? She may not make the advances I hope for. Her health may break. A hundred things might happen. But if all goes well I think my little Russian will sweep the world."

The maestro hesitated, then said confidentially:

"Come and say a word to the others before you go. They are excited and curious—it can do yourself and your pupil no harm."

"Willingly," agreed Rosing with the greatest courtesy.

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