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Chapter 46

The Varsovina Ballet, according to the transport notions of the 'seventies, moved about the world with an almost incredible speed. The English season was rapidly followed by a Canadian tour, an American tour, and then, inevitably, by a short season in South America. Kessel had not accompanied the ballet across the Atlantic, but had sent a colleague to deputize for him, a certain Adolf Klein, whose dominant motive in managing the tour was based upon a complete capitulation to Varsovina's every wish. And Varsovina herself, dancing only once nightly, sparing herself, still engaged in resting her incredible body, seemed possessed of a furious, a diabolical energy which really threatened at times to drive her subordinates out

of their senses.

The big cities of South America were not only tolerable, but agreeable. It was later in the tour, when Lina decided to attack the smaller towns, that the discomfort of their lives increased until it became well-nigh unen-


Such a town was San Pablo.

Here the ballet apeared at the Opera-House, a tawdry, ramshackle theater, situated exactly opposite an equally tawdry cathedral. Between these two buildings was a public square, or plaza, where mule-carriages waited, and in the middle of the square a small untidy publicgarden, choked with giant ferns and with other, more obscure, tropical shrubs. Behind the public gardens lay the one hotel, a curious edifice apparently fashioned of pink cocoa-nut icing. This square itself was never quiet. It was the locality preferred above all others by the in-