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Chapter 39

And this, in fact, was exactly what happened a few weeks later, when the Varsovina Ballet was playing to capacity at Cleveland, Ohio. After dancing Paquerette, Lina fainted, and was unable to take her call; revived with brandy and sal volatile in her dressing-room, she flew into a rage and insisted, despite the entreaties of all present, upon dancing the next ballet, The Mountain Sprite. For Kessel, Weiss, Borek and Marie, her persistence was an ordeal that they would none of them forget as long as they lived. She danced with desperation, and with a carelessness apparent only to those possessed of technical knowledge; in the wings a doctor waited, watching her every movement apprehensively. She fainted again in her dressing-room after the performance.

The doctor was emphatic in his orders.


Varsovina must rest. Otherwise, in view of the terrific strain to which she had for so many years subjected herself, he saw no reason to suppose that she could avoid a severe nervous breakdown. She must rest, he said, for at least six weeks; she must seek the sea, fresh air and sunshine; she must avoid, during this period of time, all discussion of the ballet, and of her business mattere. She must repose, not only her exhausted body, but also her restless, over-active brain.

Varsovina, wrapped in the gray woolen dressing-gown, eyed this very earnest and skilful young man ironically, and with extreme dislike.

"Doctor, you annoy me. I don't propose to cancel