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"He says that I'm right. I think," she continued, "that I shall go out of my mind. It's not only that I must cancel my foreign contracts. It's the fact that if anything goes wrong I shall never be able to dance again. And I must wait eight months to know that. Eight months from my life, from a dancer's life! I've not slept, Nordstrom, for three nights!"

He had grown very red. He looked sheepish, too, and avoided her eyes. He muttered some words that she could not hear.

"What do you say? What are you going to do about it?"

Her voice was sharp. He got up and walked across to the window, plunging his hands in his pockets and staring moodily down into the street.

"My poor child," he said at length, "it seems to me that the only thing to do is to be brave, and to reflect that eight months is not after all a life-time."

"But that's exactly what it is," Lina persisted, "when it's a question of a dancer and of her contracts. Besides, I may be very ill, so ill that I can not dance again for many more months. My whole career may be ruined by this. It's no use telling me to be brave."

He turned to look at her then. Her white stony face and dark-ringed eyes gave her a look of hardness to which he was unaccustomed, yet her hands, folded on her lap, fidgeted nervously with her handkerchief. She was obviously distraught, controlling herself only by a tremendous effort. And indeed, had he himself been less infuriated, he would have realized her situation to be, at the best, highly incongruous; the phenomenon of nature, so placidly endured by simpler women, can only be described as most infernally unsuited to the ladies of the ballet; maternity was not, nor ever has been, permitted to sylphides.

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