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C hapt er 36

Once again, during the matinée, as Borek clasped the thistledown lightness of her body and watched her whirl in those incredibly brilliant jouettés that always gave to her the impression of soaring, as though winged, in the air above his head, he was conscious of an adoration for this glorious artist. And then, as they collided for a brief busy second in the wings, she hissed in his ear like an angry serpent:

"Your tights! Must I really teil you again? You are never to dance with me unless you wear tights!"

And then he knew, not for the first time, that exasperation for Varsovina's arbitrary methods that affected, sooner or later, every one who had business dealings with her. He was not surprised therefore, to be summoned to her room after the performance. She flung at him, still wrapped in the gray woolen dressing-gown:

"Borek, you displease me, and I refuse to be displeased by you. When you dance with me I insist upon your wearing tights! I insist! Is that understood?"

"Not entirely," Borek told her placidly. "I dance better barelegged. Nor are tights suited to every röle. You can not dogmatize about my costumes in this way, Lina Varsovina. About my dancing, yes. That is another matter. But as to whether I wear tights or not, that is entirely my own affair. Barbe-Bleue is Oriental, barbaric. In such a ballet tights are out of place."

She looked at him, perhaps for the first time since their association together, with real anger. But Borek's narrow brown face and slanting eyes remained perfectly calm, even sleepy, as though he noticed nothing unusual.

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