She awaited him panting, her pale face glistening with sweat. Nor did she appear best pleased at this intrusion.
"I had no idea," she said, "that any one was watching me."
"I know you hadn't, Lina Varsovina." (He always addressed her in the Russian fashion.) "But the fact is that although I have been with you for two years and toured America with you twice, I have never once, never once in all that time, succeeded in arriving at the theater before you!"
"I like," she said, "to come down early. To-day I was here at nine."
And she smiled as she told him this, filled with a childish pride and confidence.
"It's twenty minutes to ten now," he said, puiling out his watch. "I must change."
"Not just yet. Not for five minutes. Talk to me for a moment while I rest."
And she wrapped herself in a sable cloak, from the depths of which she peered at him bright-eyed, like a squirrel.
He lighted a cigarette.
"I saw you perform a miracle," he told her, "as I stood in front just now."
"You mean my elevation? It's prodigious, isn't it? And I was only playing, amusing myself. That's nothing to what I can do when I try." She looked at him boldly, as she always did when she was lying.
Borek said nothing.
She continued gaily: "There's no other dancer in the world could have done what you saw just now! But these Americans don't really appreciate me. They pay to see me because I'm the fashion, that's all. Nevertheless, you remember last week, in Washington—the President was enchanted, wasn't he, and when he sent for me after