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"No." Nor did she care, from her tone.

Heinrich determined to startle her. He leaned forward.

"Taglioni," he said deliberately.

She looked at him, then. And her face was suddenly vivid with surprise and anger.

"Taglioni! I suppose you are trying to joke? Taglioni! She must be nearly fiftyl What does Taglioni want with a ballet?"

"She is not fifty, nor anything approaching it," Heinrich told her smoothly, "and you won't let me finish, Lina. Taglioni doesn't want the ballet for herself. She is preparing it for the future début of her young pupil, the little Livry. It is said," he continued idly, "that Livry much resembles Varsovina, as a dancer of elevation."

"Who says so?"

"Those people, Lina, who are only too ready to forget their favorites, even after so short an absence as two months."

"Well, I am ready to dance again, aren't I? Why do you suppose I sent for you?"

She looked sullen, affronted. Heinrich feit convinced that he held Varsovina at bay.

"I have had," said he, "an offer for a Spanish tour."

"What are the terms?"

He told her.

"That seems quite satisfactory. When?"

"When will you be ready to dance again, Lina?"

"In about a month, I suppose."

Still the same indifference. She dropped her eyelids and looked anywhere, save at him.

"I heard," he said, "the other day, of an original idea for you. An Oriental ballet, Barbe-Bleue, with you to dance the röle of Fatima. Would such a scheme appeal to you?"