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She said coldly: "Those are my orders."

"Orders? I don't take orders, Lina Varsovina, even from you, about such matters as to whether I wear tights for a certain röle or whether I don't. About my dancing, yes. I bow to you as an artist. But you are not here to dictate to me about my costumes."

She said, turning white to the mouth: "We wiU see what I am here for. This ballet is mine. The troupe is mine, the costumes, the scenery, even the theater, while I am dancing in it. When I give an order, that order is obeyed. Do you understand that?"

"I will not wear tights in Barbe-Bleue," Borek repeated monotonously.

"Then I shall dismiss you. At once, immediately. We shall see whether or not you are indispensable. Biretti will dance your röle."

"Ca m'est égal," Borek told her mulishly. "I have had several offers since I have been in America."

And without even waiting for the royal dismissal he walked nonchalantly out of the dressing-room.

Lina, aghast, sent at once for Kessel.

"It's Borek! Simply because I asked him to wear tights in Barbe-Bleue! He's leaving me! But he is. I teil you, and at once! He won't dance to-night!"

"Now, Lina," Kessel said calmly, "I know very well that you have concocted some absurd quarrel with Borek. And you can not afford to do it. He is a fine artist, but he will not submit to your caprices. Nor do I blame him. You can not treat Borek like a naughty child—he is too important to you and to your ballet."

"I shall treat him," she said sullenly, "exactly as I please."

"Then you will lose him. He is no Weiss, to put up with your tantrums for twenty years ... I beg your pardon, ten. ... I shall find Borek, and try to soothe him, but