had always been her custom, for sleep and food and nothing more; had it been possible, she would no doubt have preferred to live entirely in the theater.
She was ascetic as a nun. But her temper, her fits of nervous irritability, in no way resembled a nun, and these rages were dreaded by her troupe.
And yet, in New York, on the last night of her season, the acclamations that greeted the Snowbird were more hysterical than ever before. Nor was she allowed to drive back to her hotel in peace, for her admirers pulled the horses from the shafts of her brougham and themselves dragged her homeward with all the fanfare of a brass band, shouting, cheering, whooping with enthusiasm.
In the famous Russian sables, with a cluster of dark red roses clasped in her arms, she looked pale and fragile in the midst of so much hubbub. But for a moment she was the Varsovina of the past, the Varsovina of the rue d'Antin, for a moment she recaptured all the graceful glamour of her youth, and this was when, from the balcony of her hotel, she scattered roses to the crowd, and kissed her hands to them, and bowed as only she could bow, with a delicate and charming courtesy. She thought:
"It's like the night of my début—so many years ago— my début in Naples!"
And Kessel, watching, thought: "The last time. And she has no idea! The last time that such things will ever happen to her. If one could only teil her now, she might make more of it. . . . But one has a heart ... one can not be cruel to that point. . . ."
As was her custom, she ate her supper alone that night, with only Marie to share her triumph. She was weary but ecstatic.
And the next day she sailed for England with her troupe.
She reflected deeply during the course of this voyage,