cidentally, that he had neglected, at the time, to offer any financial compensation for the demands that he had made upon her time. Perhaps she would be kind enough to let him know to what extent he was in her debt? And he remained, hers very sincerely, Rochdale.
She received this letter on a gray November day when an east wind howled down the flagged passages of the castle and outside a steely sky hung heavy with the snow that was to come, and wild geese wheeled above the darkness of the lake, and the sentry, pacing on the terrace outside, looked blue and pinched and huddled in the intense cold.
And she thought, standing at the French window with Guy's letter crumpled in her hand, that the desolation of this day must remain for ever vivid in her mind as a monument to all the bitterness and grief of which the human heart is capable, and that never, however long she lived, in whatever sweetness and sunshine, would she forget the windswept misery of her present surroundings.
And as she stared upon the leaden grayness of this bleak day, quite suddenly the snow began to fall, or rather to drift, aimlessly like tufts of white plumage whirling against the dark and livid sky, and then a great bird screeched, that had somehow been separated from its comrades, and circled wildly in the air, as though the wind beckoned it. And then, at that moment, the ghost of an idea was born in Lina's mind, and did much, perhaps, to save her reason, for she thought suddenly of a ballet that should be called The Snow Bird; and as she pressed her face against the frosty pane, the better to stare upon all that was gray and windy and wild outside, Guy's letter fluttered to the ground, and for a moment she did not even notice that it had fallen from her hand.
And then the Grand Duke summoned her to his presence.
She knew at once that he had arranged a Christmas