dies in the water,
The fish dies in the air,
And I die in the dunes of the desert sand
For my love that is deep and sad.’
“And when the chorus sounds, as now”—and he made a gesture toward the inner room, in which the low murmur of " Wurra-Wurra” rose again, “the singer reiterates always the same refrain:
but God and I
Knows what is in my heart.’”
Almost as he spoke the contralto voice began to sing the refrain. Androvsky turned pale. There were drops of sweat on his forehead. He lifted his glass of wine to his lips and his hand trembled so that some of the wine was spilt upon the tablecloth. And, as once before, Domini felt that what moved her deeply moved him even more deeply, whether in the same way or differently she could not tell. The image of the taper and the torch recurred to her mind. She saw Androvsky with fire round about him. The violence of this man surely resembled the violence of Africa. There was something terrible about it, yet also something noble, for it suggested a male power, which might make for either good or evil, but which had nothing to do with littleness. For a moment Count Anteoni and the priest were dwarfed, as if they had come into the presence of a giant.
The Arabs handed round fruit. And now the song died softly away. Only the instruments went on playing. The distant tomtom was surely the beating of that heart into whose mysteries no other human heart could look. Its reiterated and dim throbbing affected Domini almost terribly. She was relieved, yet regretful, when at length it ceased.
“Shall we go into the ante-room?” the Count said. “Coffee will be brought there.”
“Oh, but—don’t let us see them!” Domini exclaimed.
“You would rather not hear any more music?”
“If you don’t mind!”
He gave an order in Arabic. One of the servants slipped away and returned almost immediately.
“Now we can go,” the Count said. “They have vanished.”
The priest sighed. It was evident that the music had moved him too. As they got up he said:
“Yes, there was beauty in that song and something more. Some of these desert poets can teach us to think.”
“A dangerous lesson, perhaps,” said the Count. “What do you say, Monsieur Androvsky?”
Androvsky was on his feet. His eyes were turned toward the door through which the sound of the music had come.
“I!” he answered. “I—Monsieur, I am afraid that to me this music means very little. I cannot judge of it.”
“But the words?” asked the Count with a certain pressure.
“They do not seem to me to suggest much more than the music.”
The Count said no more. As she went into the outer room Domini felt angry, as she had felt angry in the garden at Sidi-Zerzour when Androvsky said: