said by irreverent members of the troupe that the Captain set his watch by these periodic indispositions. Kessel arrived in Varsovina's cabin looking puffish and pasty, and much as though he had shrunk, since leaving New York.
Lina, propped up in bed, her sleek hair neatly braided, a rosy shawl about her shoulders, a pearly glow of powder on her thin cheeks, looked well, and knew it; she smiled at him satirically.
"Any one would imagine, my dear Kessel, that you, not I, were the invalid of the party."
"You know," said he, "that I am a wretched sailor. But you are blooming, my dear. I hope "
"Sit down," she said, "I want to talk to you. I want to discuss my plans."
"I am at your disposal."
"First of all," she began, amiably enough, "I would be glad to know what, in you opinion, caused my illness the other day?"
This was an easy question to deal with.
"Overwork, of course," replied Kessel accordingly.
"Oh, overwork!" she made an impatient gesture. "Overwork has, in your own private opinion, little or nothing to do with it. You know very well that I've overworked all my life, and am accustomed to it. No. I know you very well, my friend, by this time, and I flatter myself that at last I can see into your utterly detestable mind. You think that I am growing old."
"Now, my dear Lina, I implore you not to create a scene! What right have you "
"Please," she said, "don't interrupt me. I want this matter settled, once and for all. How old do you think I am?"
"The Snow Bird," said Kessel unctuously, "is ageless. The Ondine, the Mountain Sprite "