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Chapter 22

In 1850, when Lina Varsovina returned to Paris from America, she found herself a comparatively rich woman. In addition to the money made during her tours, it was discovered that Rosing's will left everything, including the house in Bruges, to his widow. Lina closed the house, pensioned Justine, and sent for Marie, whom she intended to transform into her personal maid.

She then retired to a comfortable hotel and set about correcting the impression prevalent in Paris—that she was an infant prodigy who had failed to fulfil the amazing promise of her early youth. The French were fïckle. Varsovina had vanished for so long that every one had long ago decided there must be something suspicious about this protracted absence.

She at last accepted an engagement, not at the Opera, but at a smaller, less opulent theater, and appeared there in the ballet La Rose Animée. At first her season created little attention: then, after the first week and a few reluctantly enthusiastic notices, Varsovina was discovered anew, and once more it became the fashion to swoon with rapture at the graces of this ethereal dancer.

One night when she was in her dressing-room a card was brought to her upon which was inscribed the name of a man well-known in the Paris of this time. He was a certain Monsieur Nordstrom, a Swedish diplomat, and he begged for the honor of Mademoiselle Varsovina's company at supper that evening. Lina reflected; the name meant nothing to her, and she had no particular desire to meet this man; at the same time she was lonely, and tired of being lonely; the Neapolitan days of conjugal devotion