out of me to give to you, and I think that my body must have been on fire, and I said to myself, 'That young man must never come here again because he is dangerous to me, and if he were to beckon I would assuredly follow him.' But I'm braver now, and more sensible, and that is why I'm going to send you away."
"And that is precisely why," he said, "I'm not going. If you love me, then of course I shall stay. If you had not told me, then I suppose I should have gone, but then I know I would have been mad with unhappiness."
Lina continued to stare at him as though she herself were enchanted. Timidly she put one hand on his head and stroked his hair for a moment. Then she told him, with a sudden passion:
"I have never said to any man what I have said to you to-night. I think I never will again. But you must promise never to take advantage of me for having done so. You must never make me unhappy—swear that you won't!"
"I swear it," he said, laughing. His teeth were whiter, more even than rice. Still laughing, he put his arms round her waist and held her very close, so close indeed that the beating of her heart became tempestuous, like the wings of a fluttering bird, very near his ear.
"It's wild, your heart," he whispered.
"I told you it was torn away from me to-night, when you came walking in. It's not my heart any more. I don't want it."
"Will you spend every minute of the day and night with me?"
"I don't know yet. Perhaps. I never met a man like you."
"Kiss me, Lina."
But she slid away from his embrace with a swiftness that reminded him immediately of the treacherous Ondine.