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She disengaged herself gently.

"I shall go in, and sleep while it's still cool."

As he paid no attention she repeated this observation in a louder voice. At last he turned in her direction.

"You're wise. I shall do the same."

And seized by this idea, which appeared to him an excellent one, he disappeared immediately into his bedroom, dismissing her with a friendly wave of his hand.

Lina remained on the balcony until she had finished her cigarette. Then she retired, to creep once more beneath her white net curtains, and tried to sleep, but once again sleep eluded her, and it was not until broad daylight that she dozed.

This day, so prematurely begun, was destined to become for Borek an eventful one.

He spent the morning rehearsing Graziella with Carlotta Rosa. The steamy stifling heat, the awkward rake of the stage, both combined to produce in Rosa an unnatural listlessness, that made her an unresponsive partner. When Borek rebuked her, half-teasingly, she caught her lip between her little white teeth and made no answer. They finished the rehearsal and went immediately to change, panting, speechless, streaming with perspiration.

They met again by accident a little later, as both were leaving the stage-door.

"Are you feeling better?" Borek wanted to know.

"Better! Well, perhaps my breath is coming more easily, but that's about all. How can I feel better while I exist in a furnace?"

"Are you going to lunch at the hotel?"

"I would be sick," Rosa declared, "if I ate lunch. Yes sick. There!"

Borek eyed her thoughtfully.

She continued: "I come from the north. I was born and bred near Milan. I have lived there all my life.