That fact, indeed, was difficult for Lina's ballet to assimilate. The Ondine, in the early twenties, was already ageless. The lacquer-black hair, the white, eerie face, the burning dark eyes, might well have belonged to a woman ten years older, or even ten years younger, than was actually the case; and her body, so exquisitely supple, was quite simply the body of the Naiad or Sylphide, rather than that of a young woman like themselves. That she had had lovers was known to the members of her ballet, and was secretly a scandal to be marveled at; they saw her either as a martinet, merciless, unyielding, or else dancing, the ghostly Princesse Lointaine of remote and fairy realms.
And Lina, tasting real power for the first time in her life, was thrilled as she had never been thrilled by any of the men who had loved her. To do her justice, she mingled with her sternness a certain judicious kindness. One girl feil ill, and the doctor muttered ominously of lungs. Lina sent her away on a convalescent trip to Italy, paying not only her own expenses, but also those of her aged mother, combined with the doctor's excessive bills.
"Really," said Heinrich, "that was very charming of you, Lina."
"Oh, my dear," she reminded him, laughing, "I am only half Jewish, you know!"
"And I," he said, "have been thinking you the coldest, most heartless woman I ever met in all my life."
"Isn't that rather unkind? Have I behaved as badly as that during the time that we have known each other?"
"You have behaved always to me," Heinrich informed her conscientiously, "with a graciousness that I can never praise enough. But, Lina, you are spiritual, loving only your art, and that, if you will permit me to say so, makes you cruel to the men who love you. Cruel without realizing what it is that you are doing to them. But that is