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"At least," Lina said, as though to herself, "this way he will keep certain illusions."

And two tears, like great drops of rain, splashed down her cheeks.

'"'But at all costs try the make-up!" Marie urged practically.

Lina cried out then, in a sudden fury of desolation:

"Of what use would that be to me? A little paint can't give me back twenty years. It can't make me young again, as I was when he saw me last. We've been pretending too long, Marie, both of us. We have been pretending that a little rouge, a little powder, makes me a girl again. It doesn't, it can't, it never could. On the stage, when I am dancing, I'm the same, or nearly the same as I was. And therefore now I must stay on the stage, and never come to life except when I am dancing."

"But Monsieur Guy!" Marie protested. "Of all people in the world he would surely understand? And you are being cruel to him, since he still loves you with all his heart!"

"It would be more cruel to show myself as I really am."

And she continued, speaking quietly, forgetting for once her temperament, her temper, all her caprices of a spoiled celebrity:

"My love for him is the happiest, the most perfect thing that I have known in all my life. And his love for me is much the same—I know that, I'm sure of it, in spite of everything. To meet again now, when we are both growing old, and have had bitter things happen to us would perhaps destroy for ever the memory of that happiness, and that's too big a price to pay for one short meeting between two elderly people ... we would have nothing in common, nothing even to talk about, but Fontainebleau, and what could we find to