whispered good advice into her ears. Sometimes she laughed at them.
"Tromper Nordstrom? But I adore the creature! Un amant de cceur? I wouldn't know what to do with one!"
Once her lover introduced her to a young Frenchman with a gay wide smile and slanting eyes. He was the Comte de Beauvais. She hesitated: something about his face was strangely familiar. As she gazed at him, puzzled, he reminded her of an earlier meeting.
"Madame la Fée! Several years ago—Bruges—the Carnival! You leaned out of your window in a mulberry dress, and waved your hand at me. If you will permit me to say so, you were adorable. I was a student, and very drunk . . . imagine, as things have turned out . . . I wanted you to dance with me! And now I have to pay a small fortune to see you dance!"
He was rich and spoiled and much attracted by her. He wanted to supplant Nordstrom. But Lina only laughed at him.
Sometimes, on fine days, they went picnicking, with a swarm of Nordstrom's friends. It was easy, in 1850, to leave Paris behind and seek the countryside. The women, on these occasions, drove in barouches, and were more gaily bright in their bonnets and swirling skirts than a cluster of sweet-peas or fuschias; the men rode beside them, in overall trousers, and beaver hats; there was much clattering of horses' hooves and champing of bits, and peals of laughter, and there was more merriment, Lina thought, than she had ever believed existed in the world. How happy they were, and how brief, the passionate, sweet-smelling days of spring! Once they dined beneath the chestnut trees of Passy, when blossom was falling from the trees, and Nordstrom, enraptured, held Lina in his arms until she was covered, as though by a mantle, in a snowdrift of fragrant bloom that buried both in the feathery sweetness of the falling blossom.