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C hapt er 48

She did not feel well. She could not understand what ailed her. She knew only that she should have been lashed into rage, whereas she was conscious only of a profound, an aching desolation. In the heat her brain seemed to reel. For so many years now she had regarded Borek as a machine, as a mechanical means of exploiting her own talents to the best possible advantage. And then, quite suddenly, for no particular reason, he had appeared to her as a man, and without in the least loving this man, she had wanted him to love her. She had determined that he should love her. She had failed. And where she had failed Rosa had succeeded.

This seemed to her the climax of all that was sorrowful and hateful and cruel. Rosa was a child,—young, gay, gifted, desirable. Rosa had everything before her, all her vivid life to live. She, Lina, had nothing to look forward to. She had no looks, no lover, no home, no interest in anything save the ballet. And soon, in a very few years' time, she would no longer be able to dance without making herself ridiculous. Perhaps already, that very night, she had made herself ridiculous, for most certainly she had danced abominably. The bleak specter of her future haunted her, so that she could not forget it, nor could she forget that in her loneliness she had turned to Borek, and had been repulsed.

This was the most devastating blow of all, for had Borek become her lover, she knew that the anguish which had racked her ever since that frightful night in London might have known a slight, an ephemeral consolation. She was no longer young; she could not, especially in the climate