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Chapter 40

Lina concluded her business arrangements in Paris and left almost immediately for the villa that she had taken near Mentone. She found a low pleasant house, sugarwhite, with green shutters, a tangle of creepers, and a long veranda overlooking an overgrown garden in which mimosa, camellia-trees and prickly pear clustered wild and unrestrained, casting a somber shadow, so that the sun's rays were sometimes obscured. But on the veranda there was sun, and here Lina lay, very slight and tiny in her heap of cushions, and opened a yellow parasol, and shut her eyes, trying to rest, while fleet shy lizards fled across the paving stones at her very feet, all unconscious of her presence. And she, with her swift dark head, her jewel-bright eyes, most curiously resembled these same lizards, but there was no one to teil her so, save Marie, and the servants hired with the villa, and none of these would have dared to take such a liberty. To these servants she was Madame, the great dancer, a creature more to be propitiated than an idol of precious jade.

But she did not really want to be propitiated; she only wanted to be left alone and in peace, to brood and sleep and dream as much as she desired, rested, idle, unmolested. And so she lay for hours among her cushions, while bright flecks of sunlight flitted like goldfish in the green ocean-tangle of the trees and shrubs that formed her garden, and flowers ran wild, like gipsies, and a dove murmured from the blackness of the somber cypress tree that was garlanded, as are Spanish saints, with wreaths of gay and climbing roses.

The charming disorder of the garden delighted her, be-