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"Really, Lina," he said reproachfully, "you are not very kind to your old friends. It made you happy enough, in Bruges, whenever Martens asked you to visit him, and now that you have come to Milan, behold! he exists for you no longer!"

"Oh, that's not true! I like Paul very much, very much indeed. Of course I've not forgotten him."

"Lina, answer me one question—have you ever, once in all your life, given a single thought to people with whom you once were friendly and have since been separated from? Your juggler, your family, your circus friends, your old dancing teacher?"

"Oh, I see what it is," said she. "You're trying to quarrel with me, aren't you?"

"Indeed not," he said emphatically, "I want only to know if you have the natural feelings common to most people or whether with you they simply do not exist."

"I don't understand you; one moment you teil me that a dancer must love only her dancing and the next moment you reproach me for forgetting my friends."

"Not at all. I told you once that a dancer can not combine her very exacting profession with that of an amoureuse. I never forbade you to make friends. Why, even in the ballet you teil me you have no comrades! What guarantee have I that you will not one day forget your husband as easily as you forgot the juggler and Paul Martens?"

She got up then, came across the room and curled herself on the floor beside him, more insinuating than a young cat.

She whispered in his ear: "You mustn't scold me. Not when I am so tired. Please don't, because, you know, I am very fond of you, even although I can't always remember to say Stanislas! How could I ever forget you?"

And she smiled at him once more, the wise mischievous smile that still so much perplexed him.