“Hast thou not seen him?” she inquires of the servant.
“Whom, my mistress?”
“Halil. He has arrived. He came another way, and must be in the house by now.”
The servant fancies that perchance Halil has come secretly and she, also full of joy, follows her mistress into the room where the table has been spread for two persons.
“Well, thou seest that he is here,” cries Guel-Bejaze, pointing to the empty place, and rushing to the spot, she embraces an invisible shape, her burning kisses resound through the air, and her eyes intoxicated with delight gaze lovingly—at nothing.
“Look at thy child!” she cries, lifting up her little son; “take him in thine arms. So! Kiss him not so roughly, for he is asleep. Look! thy kisses have awakened him. Thy beard has tickled him, and he has opened his eyes. Rock him in thine arms a little. Thou wert so fond of nursing him once upon a time. So! take him on thy lap. What! art thou tired? Wait and I will fill up thy glass for thee. Isn’t the water icy-cold? I have just filled it from the spring myself.”
Then she heaps more food on her husband’s platter, and rejoices that his appetite is so good.
Then after supper she links her arm in his and, whispering and chatting tenderly, leads him into the garden in the bright moonlit evening. The faithful servant with tears in her eyes watches her as she walks all alone along the garden path, from end to end, beneath the trees, acting as if she were whispering and chatting with someone. She keeps on asking him questions and listening to his replies, or she tells him all manner of tales that he has not heard before. She tells him all that has happened to her since they last separated, and shows him all the little birds and the pretty flowers. After that she bids him step into a little bower, makes him sit down beside her, moves her kaftan a little to one side so that he may not sit upon it, and that she may crouch up close beside him, and then she whispers and talks to him so lovingly and so blissfully, and finally returns to the little hut so full of shamefaced joy, looking behind her every now and then to cast another loving glance—at whom?
And inside the house she prepares his bed for him, and places a soft pillow for his head, lays her own warm soft arm beneath his head, presses him to her bosom and kisses him, and then lays her child between them and goes quietly to sleep after pressing his hand once more—whose hand?
The next day from morn to eve she again waits for him, and at dusk sets out once more along the road, and when she comes back finds him once more in the little hut ... oh, happy delusion!
And thus it goes on from day to day.
From morn to eve the woman accomplishes her usual work, her neighbours and acquaintances perceive no change in her; but as soon as the sun sets she leaves everyone and everything and avoids all society, for now Halil is expecting her in the open bower of the little garden.