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"Tu es charmant," Véron teased him.

Borek pursued, stubbornly: "Who is Varsovina's manager?"

"For years, many, many years, a German Jew named Heinrich. Then they quarreled, and parted. He came back to her again, and then once more there were disputes and then he left her for good. After that there were many managers, but no one would stay with her for very long. Now her affairs are conducted by an impresario well known in Paris, Leo Kessel."

"I have heard of the German, Heinrich. What happened to him?"

"Who knows? I think that he is in America. Perhaps Varsovina left him behind on her last tour."

They were silent for a moment; the smoke from their cigarettes curled dusky blue against the bright crispness of the autumn air and vanished; Borek shivered, although he was not cold; it seemed to him as though their brief and casual talk together had evoked something so vivid that it was as though the Russian legend of Varsovina herself glowed, miraculous as an ikon, before his very eyes—the Ondine, the Dryad, the Snow Bird, the exquisite artist of a hundred charming tales; yet at the same time he was melancholy, filled with romantic regret for something faded, and finished now, something stale and sad that had perhaps been created by a few malicious words from Véron, a few spiteful phrases that somehow, against his will, evoked for him the image of a tired, defeated and rather unhappy woman.

He said coldly, feeling that he hated the Frenchman: "She is the greatest dancer since Taglioni, and I am not forgetting Muravieva."

And then he asked for the bill and took himself off, for his friend had become insupportable.