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in two or three ballets every night. It seems to me that I am too valuable to kill myself in such a stupid fashion. . .

She paused, and Kessel murmured suave assent. She continued: "Therefore, in future, at any rate during the English season, I intend to dance only once a night. That means, of course, that we must engage a prima ballerina from Milan. What do you think of such a plan?"

Kessel knew very well indeed what he thought. It had come, at last. More astute, or perhaps more exhausted, than he supposed, she had been deceived only temporarily by the glamour of her farewell ovation. She knew, it seemed, that she could not long continue to remain supreme. Yet, while she relinquished her scepter, she yielded it gradually and with reluctance; she would continue to dance "once nightly," perhaps for many years, and indeed it suited his arrangements that she should do so. The Varsovina Ballet, without Varsovina, could only die; with Varsovina's waning strength carefully nursed it might endure for very long.

And he feit relieved to think that his star had at last consented to accept defeat. In fact, as he began to plan the future, he quite forgot that sentimental moment in New York when he had gazed, distressed, with dim eyes, upon the sylphide faltering for the fïrst time in her swift and lovely flight.

But now . . . a prima ballerina from Milan would undoubtedly solve many difficulties, and in his profession there was no place for sentiment.