gardenias. And while she smiled and bowed so graciously her heart was beating wildly as she tried in vain to distinguish one single face among so many hundred faces. She thought desperately:
"He's here and I can't see him! I can't find him! What's the matter with my eyes?"
But she had never been able to distinguish any one from the stage.
At last it was over, they played God Save the Queen and then she was free. But she was not really free, for they were all clustered about her—Kessel, and Borek, and Rosa, and Weiss, and her maitre de ballet, and the stage-manager, and a great number of other, more tedious, less important persons.
"You were stupendous . . . exquisite . . . a supreme triumph . . . your great genius . . . supper . . . champagne . . . celebrations . . . your arabesque . . . your pas de bourré . . . unparalleled. . . ."
She said in a small tired voice: "Please ... I can't see any one in my room. No one, no one. I have an appointment. Please let me go."
On the threshold of her door stood Marie, unyielding, barring the door. But outside in the passage there surged more people, more exasperating unknown people, people whose names, whose faces, she had entirely forgotten. She murmured, docile:
"Thank you ... thank you for your congratulations
You are most amiable. But you must please excuse me. . . . I am so tired, so very tired, and I have an appointment, a most important appointment."
It was Marie who whisked her into the room and it was Marie who slammed the door upon the very face of an outraged Kessel. "But did you not hear what Madame said? She can receive no one. No one, voyons! She has an appointment."
And so after much turmoil, the two women were alone.