my American tour—I have too much at stake. When I return to France, I will rest, yes, and perhaps take a villa in Italy for a month or so. But while I am in America, I shall continue to work. That is what I am here for."
"But I teil you, Madame Varsovina "
"And you are here," she interrupted, "to give me such drugs and medicine as will enable me to dance for the remaining five weeks of this tour. I shall dance only in one ballet a night, and that, heaven knows! is sacrifice enough. You will give me sleeping drafts, so that I shall rest at night, and tonics, to make me stronger."
"I can not give my consent," said the young doctor stiffly, "to any such folly."
The next morning, when he called to visit his patiënt, he was informed, satirically enough, that Madame Varsovina was feeling too ill to receive the doctor. But that night she danced again.
And it is to be presumed that she subsequently discovered some less conscientious physician, for it is quite certain that she fulfilled her American engagements to the extent of dancing nightly in one ballet. The members of her company began to whisper that she was taking drugs, but of this there is no proof; to her troupe she was always an exotic, a sinister and solitary figure.
When the tour was over it was supposed that she would immediately collapse, but she did no such thing. She certainly took to her bed directly she set foot upon the ship that was bound for France, but she seemed in better health, for she slept many hours, drank quantities of milk, and apparently derived much benefit from the salty freshness of the sea air that flowed into her cabin, night and day, from an open porthole. On the last day of their voyage she sent for Kessel, who, following his usual custom when at sea, had been violently sick, with mechanical precision, three times every day. It was indeed