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He spoke sardonically.

"Ah-ha! Were you proposing to serenade me?"

"Hardly." His voice was grim. He continued: "I suppose that, like me, you can't sleep. Therefore we both walk about half-naked, smoke cigarettes and long for the day to come."

"The day has nearly come."

This was true; it was possible for her to see him quite distinctly. He wore only a pair of trousers. His muscular chest was bare, and copper-dark, and gleaming with sweat.

"Tu ne te gĂȘnes pas," said she dryly, eying him with a singular expression.

"Nor you," Borek retorted, "you are no more dressed than I am."

This was true; her nightgown was diaphanous.

As he spoke the heat seemed to rise up and strike them like a solid wall of fire; she drew a deep breath and lighted another cigarette.

"After all," she said, "we are not strangers. We have known each other long enough, you and I."

"True," Borek agreed.

There was a long silence.

"It's impossible," Lina declared at last, in a fit of sudden petulance, "to talk to you."

"Why?"

"You're so stupid! Oh, you're so stupid!"

"What do you mean?"

"But look at you!"

"I have already looked many times," Borek explained, annoyed, "in the mirror. And I am handsome. More handsome without my clothes. When I dance "

"Oh, when you dance!" For some reason obscure to herself, she was unspeakably irritated by his complacency. "We're not talking of when you dance. For once,

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