Candles were scarce. Darkness set in at three, and the time till six when electric light was given was especially hard to live through. The unhealthy quiet of the town, portentous silence of the empty streets magnified apprehension to an unbearable tensity. Hearing had grown to such acuteness as to catch from afar a faintly audible sound of footsteps on the thick snow. A rifle-shot, a burst of machine-gun fire and all quiet again. See more
On some evenings lights moved to and fro in the dark court yard down below, soldiers come for perquisition. I had been spared their visits. The searches were chiefly made on the instigation of the house committee. Though my new servant belonged to it, she always behaved decently to me.
Like microbes on the body of a sick man, the rumours grew more numerous with every passing day; newspapers born overnight disseminated panicky information and concocted slander. How the big posters hanging in the main street escaped my attention, I don't know. In the evening the telephone rang, and an old friend anxiously asked, “Are you safe?” I couldn’t believe my ears when he told me that today’s posters featured my full name, with the words “German spy” inscribed underneath.
I went to perform at Kieff. No suite of balletomanes followed me, as it had a few years ago on a similar occasion. Their ranks had thinned, their traditions slackened ; spirited escapades were now out of place. My self-constituted knight and factotum, Vinogradoff, alone went to Kieff after me. Simple and illiterate man, his frantic devotion to the Ballet, and the fact that he had seen the glory of Virginia Zucchi alone qualified him as a leader of the gallery. He was fervently attached to me. Purple and apopleptic he used to rush from one end of the gallery to another shouting my name as a war-cry.