She was dressed for The Snow Bird, and already, even in the intimacy of the little over-heated dressing-room, she had assumed, as she stood before her mirror, the unearthly personality with which she trans formed this famous ballet into something rich and strange, a lovely thing from fairy kingdoms.
She was small and fragile in the fluttering white feathers that seemed, through some alchemy or other, as though they grew upon her limbs in a veritable plumage, and were actually a part of herself. White wings bound the blackness of her hair and she was ice-pale and strangely beautiful. Her thin taut body was like the body of a greyhound in its suggestion of speed and grace. And she was calm now, she to whom first nights were a torment, so calm that her hands scarcely trembled. Marie stood waiting for her with a shawl over her arm. "Madame . . . it is time."
Lina replied, without turning round: "I can still read my letter once again."
And she read:
"I am here by myself. I sent you some carnations, but they had no card. I did not mean to write, but I found that I couldn't help sending you this note. I am going home, to the country, tomorrow. Will you have supper with me to-night? If you have any feeling left for me, love or hate or friendship, I entreat you to accept. Perhaps you have forgotten me—then refuse. Our lives are so different, our parting was so long ago, that you may have forgotten even my name. But to me,