"I think," said he, "that she will approve."
"It doesn't matter if she does not approve," said Lina. "What has she to do with either you or me?"
In the fiacre he set about embracing her, and she submitted with a good grace. Nurdo, Rosing, what did it matter? You remained untouched, in your secret self, having no use for these things, but if you pretended cleverly enough they believed you, and then all was well. Rosing, for instance, who had looked at her so strangely when she had first agreed to marry him, seemed definitely in better spirits by the time they had reached Angellini's house.
The old woman embraced them both, burst into tears, recalled at some length her own two husbands and her five lovers, drank their health and then dismissed Rosing, for Lina had a lesson early the next morning. When he had gone she asked:
"Teil me, carissima, are you happy with a man so much older than yourself?"
"Yes," said Lina briefly.
"Ebbene! And he wants you, of course, for the same reason that Perrot wanted Carlotta Grisi!"
"Why did Perrot want Carlotta Grisi?"
"He was finished, épuisê, and had quarreled with the directors of the Paris Opera. Carlotta became his pupil; she was young, graceful, with much talent. Perrot married her, she was engaged by the Opera, and Perrot, her husband, her master, returned there in triumph."
"Rosing wants me more than that."
Angellini asked, with inquisitive kindness: "And you have really no young lover, little one?"
"I had one once, but I don't regret him, not a bit, not I. I prefer Rosing."
And she embraced Angellini warmly.
Shortly afterward they were married. Lina was an