Her finances continued to absorb her. She was traveling, now, with two other principal dancers, her partner, her maitre de ballet, twenty ballet-girls, Heinrich and Weiss. She discovered, too, that she must include in her company a stage-manager, a coiffeur and three stagehands accustomed to The Ondine's complicated scenery. This little army, trailing all over Europe in the wake of its tireless commander, soon proved itself no less pugnacious than armies have always been, and always will be; the ballet-girls quarreled, slapped one another's faces and burst into periodic floods of tears; the male dancers constantly feil out over such major matters of etiquette as precedence in taking their calls, only to sulk like naughty and affected children; Heinrich seemed to possess the unfortunate faculty of irritating the maitre de ballet, who, when irritated, expressed his irritation by jumping up and down like an infuriated monkey. As for the three permanent stage-hands from France, it is perhaps superfluous to say that they instinctively despised and suspected all others of their kind.
In the midst of all these squabbles, intrigues, potins and disputes, there walked always, aloof but watchful, the presumably remote form of the Ondine. But the Ondine dancing, or the Ondine supping at her hotel, bore no relation whatsoever to the despot who seemed, at rehearsal, to be lurking everywhere—outside the doors of dressing-rooms, in the wings, in the shadows of supposedly empty stage-boxes—wherever, in fact, she was most likely to appear when she was not wanted. And her methods of settling disputes were almost military in their arrogance.
"That Varsovina," the girls said resentfully, "would have been a general had she been born a man."
"Ah, and to think that she is as young as, or younger than, ourselves!"