were over and done with for ever, there was no one, now, to keep her from doing as she pleased. She made certain inquiries, af ter which she accepted Nordstrom's invitation.
He called for her after the ballet, a tall florid-looking man of about thirty-five, handsome in a burly fashion, with an amiable smile and eyes of such a bright hot blue that their burning stare reminded her of nothing so much as the heavy skies of South America. They went to supper at the Maison-d'Or, where Nordstrom, carefully observing the conventions of the period, had ordered a private room, champagne and flowers. Lina, unaccustomed to these modish ways, was secretly impressed by the alcove itself, with all its mysteries of draped red curtains, by the gilt chairs, the festive appearance of the supper table, with its gleaming linen, its clusters of bright carnations, its basket of glowing hothouse fruit, its gold-necked bottle nestling luxuriously in an ice-bucket. Her spirits rose like quicksilver, and she at once forgot that she was tired.
"What a fascinating dress," said Nordstrom casually, giving her shawl to the waiter. It was of black velvet, trimmed with lace, and made her neck and shoulders seem paler, more luminous, than ivory.
"I am glad," she said, "that you like it. But it doesn't come from Paris. I got it several months ago, in New York."
"It is fascinating," he said again. He added: "You know, Mademoiselle, seeing you opposite me here, eating your supper so demurely, dressed in black velvet and lace, produces upon me a most peculiar effect. It makes me feel I am dreaming. Shall I teil you why?"
"Please," said Lina, who was hungry, and who did not want to talk until her appetite was satisfied.
"Ah, you're curious," said Nordstrom, delighted. He leaned forward and continued: