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"I beg your pardon, Lina. But there is no question of pity, only of a profound and most sincere admiration."

"At least," she told him, "you can never again say that I am less human than Elssler. Nor can you say that I have missed something that other women take as a matter of course. And, the next time that you see me dancing the Ondine, you will appreciate my talents more than ever before, for you will know that she isn't me, the Ondine, and that she never can be me again. You must applaud me as an actress, in the future, Heinrich, even more than as a dancer. Oh, yes, really, you know," she continued, looking at him mockingly, "you are the manager of a very gifted woman!"

Heinrich was secretly much impressed by his discovery of the fact that she, the woman carved of jade, as Weiss had once called her, was at last stricken and almost, it would seem, destroyed, by love. He was acute enough to realize that her suffering was real, not assumed; at the same time, although fascinated by so rare a spectacle, he was busy calculating exactly how much money he was likely to make out of the Spanish tour; and he was furthermore unable to suppress a feeling of the deepest satisfaction at Varsovina's unprotesting return to the arena of ballet.

He soon began to touch on those financial details so important to both of them. She listened for a few moments in silence, and then interrupted, asserting herself with all her old shrewdness.

"Really, Lina, to listen to you one would imagine that I was trying to swindle you out of every second peseta you are likely to make in Spain."

"So you are," said she dryly, "and what you don't take, the others will. However, I am fortunately able to take care of myself."

"Well able," Heinrich agreed with fervor.