‘I shall only have three motives,’ he said. ’That’s the La Valliere motive. Do you see the idea?’
‘You mean she limps?’
‘Precisely. Isn’t it delightful?’
‘She won’t have to limp much, you know. She didn’t.’
’Just the faintest suggestion. It will be delicious. I can see Morenita in the part. Well, what do you think of it?’
I could not speak. His appeal, suddenly wistful, moved me so. I leaned forward and kissed him.
‘Dear girl!’ he murmured.
Then he blew out the candle. He was beside himself with excitement.
‘Diaz,’ I cried, ’what’s the matter with you? Do have a little sense. And you’ve made me lose my slipper.’
‘I’ll carry you upstairs,’ he replied gaily.
A faint illumination came from the hall, so that we could just see each other. He lifted me off the chair.
‘No!’ I protested, laughing. ‘And my slipper.... The servants!’
I was a trifle in those arms.
The triumphal re-entry into the world has just begun, and exactly as Diaz foretold. And the life of the forest is over. We have come to Paris, and he has taken Paris, and already he is leaving it for other shores, and I am to follow. At this moment, while I write because I have not slept and cannot sleep, his train rolls out of St. Lazare.
Last night! How glorious! But he is no longer wholly mine. The world has turned his face a little from my face....
It was as if I had never before realized the dazzling significance of the fame of Diaz. I had only once seen him in public. And though he conquered in the Jubilee Hall of the Five Towns, his victory, personal and artistic, at the Opera Comique, before an audience as exacting, haughty, and experienced as any in Europe, was, of course, infinitely more striking—a victory worthy of a Diaz.
I sat alone and hidden at the back of a baignoire in the auditorium. I had drawn up the golden grille, by which the occupants of a baignoire may screen themselves from the curiosity of the parterre. I felt like some caged Eastern odalisque, and I liked so to feel. I liked to exist solely for him, to be mysterious, and to baffle the general gaze in order to be more precious to him. Ah, how I had changed! How he had changed me!
It was Thursday, a subscription night, and, in addition, all Paris was in the theatre, a crowded company of celebrities, of experts, and of perfectly-dressed women. And no one knew who I was, nor why I was there. The vogue of a musician may be universal, but the vogue of an English writer is nothing beyond England and America. I had not been to a rehearsal. I had not met Villedo, nor even the translator of my verse. I had wished to remain in the background, and Diaz had not crossed me. Thus I gazed through