it seemed, had danced Paquerette before—with great success—and the fact that Varsovina, wrapped in the famous Russian sables, watched her impassively from a stage-box, apparently caused her not one single tremor.
When she had danced, and had bowed most respectfully, most delightfully, toward the stage-box, the coryphées and figurantes whispered to themselves that Madame would undoubtedly make some excuse for getting rid of her,— she was too accomplished, too sure of herself, "trop grande artiste." But Madame went forth upon the stage, embraced the young dancer with every demonstration of affection, and said to her in tones of unmistakable clearness:
"My child, you are charming, and I congratulate you . . . your teachers should indeed be very proud."
To which Rosa replied, modestly, confidingly: "Ah, Madame, you are my teacher now, and from you I have everything to learn—yes, I assure you, everything."
It was a pretty scene.
Rosa, thus contrasted with Varsovina's swart pallor, appeared fairer, more blooming, even than she was; taller than Lina, she was graceful, with a pleasing plumpness; her sunny skin and clear dark eyes made her vivid redgold hair seem all the brighter. Lina was little beside her, and white, and tired, but Lina was so exquisitely gracious that her courtesy became a grand thing, like a tribute of flowers, and it was Lina, of the two, who dominated.
Afterward, at the hotel, Marie, undressing her mistress, said affably:
"They teil me that Mademoiselle Carlotta Rosa disappoints in Paquerette. They teil me that she makes no impression whatsoever."
And Lina, somber, staring into the mirror as Marie brushed her hair:
"Then they teil you wrong. Rosa is excellent—better than I supposed."