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Chapt er 37

It was not good for Lina to eat her supper alone, before her fireside, when she was tired, and melancholy, and far away from Europe. Sooner or later, inevitably, on these occasions she thought of Chevis, and this was a memory not sweetly sad, as Rosing's was, but one that still had power to stab her with a vivid pain against which she fought with all her might, but was always vanquished, for never, she thought, could she forget the last letter that she had ever received from her lover.

That again had been written many years ago, at a time when her relations with the Grand Duke of Brandenstein were causing a joyous European scandal of the type that would later, many years later, be for ever immortalized as the ideal theme of the romantic musical comedy. And yet there was nothing particularly joyous about the Grand Duke himself, nor about his intrigue with Varsovina, nor about Varsovina's state of mind during the time of their intrigue together. It was indeed one of the more melancholy memories of Lina's life and she seldom talked of it to any one.

Soon after her parting with Chevis she had toured Germany, and when in due course she danced before the King of Saxony this monarch invited his cousin, Eitel Gustav of Brandenstein, to be present at a gala performance of La Péri. Eitel Gustav, enormously tall, round-shouldered, idealistic, gentle, eccentric and dreamy, so seldom left the confines of his Duchy that it had never before occurred to him as a possibility that there could exist upon the face of the earth a creature so vivid, graceful, and glamourous as Lina Varsovina in La Péri.