And Marie said no more.
Rehearsals continued at the Empress Theater in an atmosphere of delightful amiability regarded as highly unnatural by the people of the ballet, who were by this time more accustomed to storm than sunshine. Carlotta Rosa danced like an angel, and Lina, watching her intently, had nothing but praise for the exertions of the younger ballerina.
One morning Kessel was much astonished to find Borek waiting in his office. The Russian seemed chastened, and was shabbily dressed, the ballet that he had tried to start in America had, he admitted frankly, been nothing less than a fiasco for every one concerned. Plans? He had no plans, nothing at all, unless he returned to Russia; if Varsovina were by any chance willing for a reconciliation he for his part asked nothing better than to continue as her partner.
Lina was elated to hear of the prodigal's return. The mere thought of Borek, subjugated, penniless, returning voluntarily to the fold, was in itself gratifying, but the idea of dancing once more with the one man who knew by heart her every movement, who was familiar with every technical trick by which she might be exhibited to the best advantage, caused her heart to glow with pleasure, and indeed she almost feil upon his neck when they met to discuss the business aspect of his engagement.
Borek had developed from the uncouth boy, fresh from Russia, who had joined the troupe so many years ago, into a man of more than thirty, muscular as a panther, handsome in a Mongol fashion, confident of himself, desirous one day of making his name as a choreographist. He still smoked countless cigarettes, he was if anything more indolent of speech, more casual in manner, even than before.
She rehearsed a pas de deux with him and was enraptured by his swiftness, his sureness, by the technical dex-