Prussian War, almost the sole survivor of that brilliant tragedy that had been the scene of her supreme triumphs.
She returned for two years to America, where she quarreled with the peaceful Borek, slapping his face in public at the Opera-House in New York when they were taking a curtain-call together, parted company with him, and continued her tour, undefeated.
The critics said of her that she was ageless, perennial, divine,—a legend of grace and beauty. She knew only that she grew daily thinner, more irritable, more exhausted, less able to endure the grinding hardships of these hurricane American tours. Nor was her new young partner, Duflos, of any real assistance when she was dancing with him,—on the contrary, his nervous inexperience communicating itself as it did to her, made her so mortally afraid of being dropped by him that she could have boxed his ears every day with the greatest possible satisfaction.
But she controlled herself, for if Duflos went there would be no one left to dance with her. This knowledge did not, however, prevent her from sulking during rehearsal; once, when she found Duflos waiting for her on the empty stage she suddenly pointed at him and burst out laughing.
"His legs! Why are they so thin? In a dancer it's ridiculous."
The youth, who was effeminate and dandified, flushed like a girl, but said nothing. Afterward, when he was with his comrades, he said much.
"Quelle vache, hein? En tout cas, je m'en fiche, moi.... She is finished, she has no spring left in her body . . . she needs a Strong Man, not a dancer, to support her nowadays."
But from the front all looked well, and not even the critics appeared to suspect that the Snowbird was drifting