Varsovina arrived home from her English tour in a state of extreme indignation. She had not been properly advertised, she had been prevented from taking with her her own orchestra, an incompetent partner had on one occasion let her fall, a member of her corps de ballet had had the audacity to produce a premature baby for which she, Varsovina, had had to pay, Kessel had exhibited a laziness unparalleled in her vast experience, Marie had left most of her dresses behind, and she was, in fact, at her most sullen when she arrived, after a bad crossing, at the hotel in Paris where she had engaged her usual suite of rooms.
And then, hearing that Ivan Borek was in Paris, seeking to dance with her, she at once became cunning and summoned Kessel.
Leo Kessel, most successful impresario of his period, was everything that Heinrich had not been, and all that they had in common was their race. Kessel was the impresario of comic opera; enormous, florid, greasy and emotional; like (although singularly unlike) the famous Lady Hamilton, he had, in private life, so much taste and all of it so very bad; he adored scenes and demonstrations of every kind; he also loved sweet champagne, pink carnations, quantities of scent, diamond rings, elaborate funerals, newborn babies, hysterics, and very fair, fat women. But these indulgences did not prevent him from appreciating the genius, Lina Varsovina, and his adoration of her art was the finest, most sincere and ardent emotion that he had ever known, or would ever know.
Yet while, from a business point of view, he directed his dancer superbly, he had nevertheless succeeded in aggravating, without realizing that he was doing so, every single fault, weakness and tantrum of which Lina, the woman, was capable.
With Heinrich this had not been so. They had quar-