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From the Life of a Virtuoso


Excerpt: f Natalie's mother, the Princess Irina Dimitrievna Assanow. She now sat at a table in the middle of the drawing-room between many others, most of them old Russians, men and women; opposite her a thin, very young man with long, straight, blond hair, a well-known magnetizer.

It seemed to Lensky as if he had never seen anything more laughable than these half-dozen almost exclusively gray-haired people who sat with solemn bearing and attentive faces around a table whose edge they could just surround with hands stretched out as far as possible.

Those present who did not directly participate in the attempt to bewitch the table, stood around observing the interesting round surface.

But the table continued in a state of desperately exciting passivity.

Lensky, usually specially invited to soirees, of which he formed the centre of attraction, felt humiliated by the four-legged wooden rival, who, to-day, took all the attention away from him.

At last the old French woman turned to the o