She continued to dance with ravishing grace in a heat pronounced unendurable by her comrades. In Rio she was persuaded to give an additional al fresco performance to take place in the bull-ring, in the midst of which a temporary stage had been hastily erected. The boxes and palcos were crowded with the richest men, the most beautiful women of the city; down below, in the blinding whiteness of the sunshine, Varsovina danced, more graceful in her gauzy petticoats than any sylphide, on a spot where, the day before, blood had been spilled, and men and beasts atrociously mangled amid the cheers of this same vociferous crowd.
She had quarreled with Rosing about the wisdom of performing in the bull-ring, and it was against his wishes that she had accepted the engagement. All his shrewd theatrical instincts demanded that his dancer should be exhibited only on the stage, that she should be segregated behind footlights, and etherealized with all the crystalline glamour of limelight; that she should dance in broad daylight, in an arena dedicated to violent and gory sports, shocked him to the very core of his being, and he refused majestically, indignantly, to be present at the performance.
But he need have had no fear. The experiment was entirely successful. The applause was vociferous; hats and flowers were tossed frantically into the ring; she was presented to an eminent political personage who congratulated her, at great length, in unctuous French; she changed her dress in the white-washed chamber where the tor er os were wont to bedizen themselves in their jewels and sequins; when she drove back to the hotel her carriage was heaped high with syringas, hybiscus, lilies, carnations, and camellias, and she herself, in her pale green dress and bonnet, was scarcely to be distinguished amid these masses of brilliant and sweet-smelling blossom.