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She said simply: "If you are going to give me jewelry, at all, I would rather have pearls. That's all."

"Indeed!"

He was not quite sure how to treat her. After the more florid charms of so many rowdy, exuberant Maries, Yvettes, Ginas and Rosalies, this strange little being, with her smooth dark head, her airs of delicacy and refinement, her complete self-possession, and her impeccable manners, really astonished him. He inquired, still staring at her:

"Do you think that you could love me?"

Lina looked at him thoughtfully. She was quite sure that she could not do anything of the sort. She had never loved Nurdo, and although she had respected Rosing she had feit no love for him, only gratitude. She supposed that if Nordstrom proved himself kind and generous she would be grateful to him, and in any case she would be glad of his company, having been lonely and depressed since her return to Europe.

He said, a little embarrassed by her intent scrutiny: "Are you reading my mind, Lina Varsovina? Are you still thinking about your pearls? Or are you wondering whether you'11 be happy with me?"

"None of those. I was wondering how to answer your question."

"If you have any doubts," he said, "as to my position, my character, my finances, anything you may want to know, you are always at liberty to make inquiries."

"Oh," she said, "I have already done so. At the theater, before I accepted your invitation to-night."

"Indeed! You waste no time, Mademoiselle. And I hope that your information was satisfactory?"

"Very."

"Then what's the trouble? Am I such a monster?"

"No." She looked at him, smiling, and put her hand on his. "Indeed, no, you're not. I will love you, if

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