while dancing in the corps de ballet she was to take lessons every morning with an old retired ballerina, Signorina Angellini. Furthermore, she was to lodge with this person while Rosing returned to Bruges to shut up his house, for during the four months of her engagement he intended himself to live in Milan.
"But during my absence, which should not last more than ten days, Signorina Angellini will look after you as though you were her own daughter."
And as she continued to look apprehensive at the prospect of Signorina Angellini, he explained:
"Russian technique with an Italian polish! That is my dream for you. And you will be enormously improved not only by dancing in the ballet at night, but also by the methods of a new and brilliant teacher—see to it you profit by them!"
Signorina Angellini was a fat, merry, good-humored little woman with an enormous bust, a shrill voice, and a dark shabby house littered with piaster Madonnas, statues of saints, holy-water stoups and dusty rosaries.
She thought Lina a freak, and said as much to her.
"To have achieved so much with so little hard work, that is miraculous. And now we will see what work can do."
Work, to Angellini, meant slave-driving as even Rosing had not understood it, but the little woman was so affable, so encouraging and so pleasant, that it was difficult at first to realize how cruelly pitiless were her standards. And when Lina was not working Angellini petted her, spoiled her, flattered her and fed her up with milk.
"So thin, the poor bambina! A flat chest and arms like sticks! But certainly you will drink it all! If not for fear of me because you want to grow into a pretty woman, eh? A ballerina as tiny as you—that won't do at all!"