He caught Vera by the arm. His eyes were flames. He drew her with him back into her little room. He closed the door.
“The Revolution has come—it has really come,” he cried.
“Yes,” she answered, “it has come into this very house. The world has changed.”
“The Czar has abdicated.... The old world has gone, the old wicked world! Russia is born again!”
His eyes were the eyes of a fanatic.
Her eyes, too, were alight. She gazed past him.
“I know—I know,” she whispered as though to herself.
“Russia—Russia,” he went on coming closer and closer, “Russia and you. We will build a new world. We will forget our old troubles. Oh, Vera, my darling, my darling, we’re going to be happy now! I love you so. And now I can hope again. All our love will be clean in this new world. We’re going to be happy at last!”
But she did not hear him. She saw into space. A great exultation ran through her body. All lost for love! At last she was awakened, at last she lived, at last, at last, she knew what love was.
“I love him! I love him... him,” her soul whispered. “And nothing now in this world or the next can separate us.”
“Vera—Vera,” Nicholas cried, “we are together at last—as we have never been. And now we’ll work together again—for Russia.”
She looked at the man whom she had never loved, with a great compassion and pity. She put her arms around him and kissed him, her whole maternal spirit suddenly aware of him and seeking to comfort him.
At the touch of her lips his body trembled with happiness. But he did not know that it was a kiss of farewell....
I have no idea at all what Lawrence did during the early days of that week. He has never told me, and I have never asked him. He never, with the single exception of the afternoon at the Astoria, came near the Markovitches, and I know that was because he had now reached a stage where he did not dare trust himself to see Vera—just as she at that time did not trust herself to see him....
I do not know what he thought of those first days of the Revolution. I can imagine that he took it all very quietly, doing his duty and making no comment. He had of course his own interest in it, but it would be, I am sure, an entirely original interest, unlike any one else’s. I remember Dune once, in the long-dead days, saying to me, “It’s never any use guessing what Lawrence is thinking. When you think it’s football it’s Euripides, and when you think it’s Euripides it’s Marie Corelli.” Of all the actors in this affair he remains to me to the last as the most mysterious. I know that he loved Vera with the endurance of the rock, the heat of the flame, the ruthlessness of a torrent, but behind that love there sat the man himself, invisible, silent, patient, watching.