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and down the room, but she took no notice of him.

"Do you hear me," he shouted.

But Lina, staring at her letter, remained transfixed, as though spellbound.

"Lina Varsovina, will you listen to what I am saying?"



"Marie, Marie! Look, look! Oh, read this and say that I am not dreaming! Say that you read what I read! Quickly, quickly!"

Kessel was mystified. He stopped blustering and stared at the two women.

Marie, frowning, read the letter with difficulty, mouthing its words to herself. As she often said, she was no scholar. And then, to Kessel's disgusted astonishment, Marie threw her apron over her head and began to whimper.


"It's true, isn't it, Marie? It's real!"

"It is most certainly his writing!"

Kessel, still gaping, discovered to his bewilderment that Varsovina now looked young, eager, radiant.

"Lina Varsovina!"

She turned to him. "I shall dance! Oh, yes, I shall dance! Fetch Rosa! Quickly! The poor Rosa! How abominable not to have congratulated her before!"

"But I don't "

"Fetch Rosa!"

When Rosa came into the room, still flushed and panting, Lina embraced her with all the pride and tenderness of a fond mother. She smiled, cooed congratulations and patted Rosa's glowing cheek.

"My dear child, what a triumph! I am so proud of you—I am enchanted! Wait! Wait one minute!"

She stretched toward her flowers, snatched a bouquet