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Chapt er 49

A sheen of silken tights, drifts of white tulle, white wings binding the blackness of smooth hair, white plumage fluttering from the scanty bodice, that was all, and then that mysterious entity, the Snow Bird, had been created for the last time. Almost created, and yet not quite; she had still to powder her face, and darken her eyelids, and paint her mouth scarlet, like a red flower. She opened her jewel-case, found her pearls, kissed them, and put them away again; she had never danced in her pearls. They belonged, not to the ballerina, but to the woman, and she had no further use for them.

When she had completed her preparations she feit suddenly exhausted, drained of all strength, and for a moment she was on the point of fainting. She sat quite still for a short time and pressed her hands against her eyes; when she opened them once more she was able to stand up, but she was still strangely weak, and her head swam when she tried to walk. She persisted; found the glass of sleeping draft, and stumbled across the room to her bed. Here, very carefully, she placed the glass on a table beside the bed; so carefully that she spilled not one drop of this precious liquid that was to bring to her eternal forgetfulness. And then she lay down on the bed, crumpling her tulle and her feathers, bedraggling the Snow Bird's plumage, but she did not care, for at that moment a fire seemed to burn up her whole body and a violent pain racked her head, making her brain spin. She lay flat, closing her eyes, and feit a little better. She thought:

"In a moment, in one little moment, I shall not know what it feels like to be tired and giddy and to have pains