"On the stage, while you dance, you are a creature of the elves, unreal, immortal. If I had been a Catholic, watching you to-night, I'd have crossed myself. You are like no woman I have ever seen before. I made up my mind that I must see you as you are in real life, and I assured myself that I would be disappointed. I told myself that I must expect a pale, emaciated, badly dressed little creature, a Russian Jewess with bad teeth. Yes, wasn't that strange? I actually persuaded myself that you would have bad teeth! I waited for you with my heart beating!"
"Oh, come now," she said, "Fm not so bad as all that!"
"So bad! . . . But you must please let me finish! You are the most exquisite creature that I have ever seen. You are so small, so delicate, so perfect, that I almost believe you are made of china. And yet, having seen you dance, I still prefer my first theory, that you are a being from another world. You'11 not bewitch me, will you?"
He leaned across the table, staring at her with hot, restless blue eyes. His face was flushed, and Lina, the observant, decided that although he was handsome now, he would soon become stout.
"No, indeed I won't," she said, laughing.
"That's a splendid ruby you wear round your neck. Where did you plunder it?"
"I've had it ever since I made my début."
"Would you like some earrings to match it?"
"How rich are you?" she asked practically.
Nordstrom exploded with laughter.
"You're not such a fairy as I thought, Lina Varsovina! I observe that, however ethereal you may appear, you also possess a certain elemental shrewdness. Do you want me to bedizen you with rubies?"
"No. I don't want any more rubies."