Just before his death there had been a dispute. She had wished to dance in a bull-ring before some President or other, and he had protested with vehemence. The idea of Lina dancing in a plaza de toros had seemed to him monstrous, unthinkable. But she had persisted, thrusting aside his weary arguments with all the force of her young imperious will. And she had conquered. She had danced there in the sun-glare of a great arena, more lovely than a spray of plum-blossom; at the end of her performance she had been pelted with a rain of lilies and camellias, so that these flowers, tossed in thousands by her admirers, had bloomed in all their freshness where the day before blood had been spilled. And she had run back to her husband with her spoils heaped in her arms, and she had found her husband dead. He had for long been tired; she had for long been selfish; her youthful vitality had sapped his strength, and so he had died, this old man who had created Varsovina from nothing.
And it seemed to her now, in this mood of frustrated bitterness, that he had been uncommonly fortunate thus to escape. She supposed that with death he had found peace. Peace! The very word had a sweet strange music.
She determined there and then, at that precise moment, to kill herself, and this decision brought with it a blessed calm relief. How simple, after all, to solve the sorrowful problem of her existence; how simple, how comforting, just to fall asleep and slip away from a life so utterly detestable!
She got up from her chair and went inside the bedroom. She was no longer trembling and strained; she was quiet now, strangely reassured and tranquil.
She went across to her washstand and, taking up a tumbler, poured into it the whole contents of a bottle of sleeping draft. It was as simple as this, her passport to