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Yet she was bewildering, for suddenly she smiled, and then once more she dazzled him and then he could have wept because this miracle had never danced in Petersburg.

She began without further preamble: "Have you ever seen me dance?"

"Alas! no, Madame; that is my greatest misfortune."

She looked serious, then, and told him, shaking her head: "But that was very careless! You should have crossed to London and seen me over there. I danced L'Oiseau de Neige and another ballet I have in mind for you—The Fisherman and the Naiad. Have you really never seen my Snow Bird?"

Borek explained that he had never, except for the season in Milan, danced anywhere but in Russia.

"Oh, teil me," she said, "about Muravieva. How much I'd love to see her! She is really brilliant, I hear."

"She is a very capable artist," he told her, suddenly cautious.

"Ah! But no longer so young, is she, poor Muravieva . . . and Bogdanova, and Petipa, and Lebedeva? . . . If you knew how much I regret that my engagements have never permitted me to dance in Russia! But who knows? Perhaps I shall be more fortunate in the future."

"Never," thought Borek, remembering the disgust that Varsovina, many years ago, had caused to the Imperial Theater by her inexplicable refusal to dance there at a gala performance for the Tsar.

She continued, looking directly at him with oval velvety dark eyes: "The idea of dancing with me as my partner, does it interest you at all?"

"Indeed it does," he said immediately; "it has been for a long time one of my dearest wishes."

"My present partner, Novarro, is impossible. Really, quite impossible. And when I go to Germany on my next tour I intend to give Paquerette, in which I know you

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