the performance he asked where my wings were hidden!"
She laughed again. Borek was still silent, and she demanded, suddenly suspicious:
"What's the matter? Why are you so sulky?"
"I am not sulky, Lina Varsovina. But I dislike seeing a great artist overworking herself as you are doing in this country. You were at the theater until one this morning. You come here again at nine. You are rehearsing this morning and dancing twice to-day. No ballerina on earth can stand such strain."
"That's because," she retorted, "you are comparing my standards to those of Russia, where the ballerinas are so pampered that they only dance about three times a month. I could never have endured such idleness. Long ago, when I was a child, I made up my mind that I would dance for the whole world." And she added, half to herself: "I am only happy when I dance. I grow so restless, waiting not only for the performance, but even for rehearsal! And it's over so soon."
They were sitting together back-stage on a flight of steps that were used in one of the ballets. Far away from them, in the shrouded gloom of the stalls, there passed, whispering and giggling to one another, the dim figures of Varsovina's company, hastening through the pass-door to change for rehearsal.
"I must go," Borek said. He got up from the step on which he had been sitting and put out his cigarette. Lina remained huddled in her furs, brooding, chin propped on her hand. He glanced at her face and was disturbed to see how thin and frail she seemed, how haggard and worn, even in the dim light of the theater.
"Teil me, Lina Varsovina, does it ever occur to you to sleep?"
"Oh, yes. Of course it does! Are you trying to play nurse to me, Borek?"