And they were shut away, as though upon a desert island.
Not far away, in Paris, a president was stepping firmly forward toward the goal that was to make him Emperor of the French, and in the meaner streets of the city crowds of people collected daily to sing with all the force of their lungs:
The elegant Monsieur de Morny attended first nights, as had even been his custom, the Prince-President entertained on Monday evenings at the Elysée, there was much gossiping at the Jockey Club, the army waited to shout "Vive l Empereur" and the history of France was changing all the time.
But in the little villa at Fontainebleau no one talked politics and no one thought very much about the third Napoleon. They talked ballet, music and then more ballet, and Heinrich feit himself rewarded when Lina's white face lit up, and her eyes danced, and sometimes, when she was much excited, her fingers sprang to life and mimed the movements of the Ondine on her lap.
"That pas d'entramement! It fascinates me!"
And then her face would cloud and she would shake her head and say sullenly: "But what's the use? Who knows what may happen to me. A dancer's not made to bear children. I may die—worse, I may be an invalid for life. What's the use of planning the future?"
"Now, Lina," Heinrich would scold her, "that is naughty, and it's forbidden to talk in such a wicked manner."
"Ah," said she, "you can stop me talking, you can't stop me thinking."