Winter. In Paris there was one excitement after another. The Deux-Déqembre. Vive l'Empereur! The projected evacuation of the Elysée for the Tuileries. The dawn of a Second Empire.
At Fontainebleau the rain dripped in slanting silver rods, and the mist was sea-gray, and Lina's pretty villa, fashioned so daintily for pleasant summer days, looked more desolate than a box of candy that has been left all night in the garden. She herself, in a nervous fit, banished every mirror from her house.
"Don't bring them near me! I don't want to see myself. Oh, God, oh, God, who would ever think that this body belonged to a dancer?"
And Heinrich continued to send diplomatic messages all over Europe to the effect that Varsovina's knee was still causing anxiety to her medical advisers. Varsovina's knee! It has long since become famous in the history of ballet.
The winter dragged on interminably, and at last even the Ondine lost power to charm her future interpreter.
"These dancers," complained Heinrich to Weiss, mopping his face, "oh, why can't they remain celibate? Dans la dance il n'y a que les demoiselles. That's what their teachers teil them in the beginning and God knows they might as well save their breath. As for the death of Rosing—ah, what a misfortune! What a shocking, irreparable, appalling misfortune!"
When spring came to Fontainebleau in a flood of pale cold sunshine, and the mists cleared, and a greenish haze crept over the naked boughs of the trees, and primroses paler even than the sunshine clustered in the secret mossy glades of the forest, Lina Varsovina gave birth to a son. The doctor, summoned by Heinrich, imagined that he was attending an Englishwoman named Mrs. Varley. Marie was completely trustworthy. As for the midwife, this ex-