And with Count Anteoni and the priest she set another figure, that of the sand-diviner, whose tortured face had suggested a man looking on a fate that was terrible. Had not he, too, warned her? Had not the warning been threefold, been given to her by the world, the Church, and the under-world—the world beneath the veil?
She met Androvsky’s eyes. He was getting up to leave the room. His movement caught her away from things visionary, but not from worldly things. She still looked on herself moving amid these events at which her world would laugh or wonder, and perhaps for the first time in her life she was uneasily self-conscious because of the self that watched herself, as if that self held something coldly satirical that mocked at her and marvelled.
“What shall I do to-night?”
Alone in the now empty salle-a-manger Domini asked herself the question. She was restless, terribly restless in mind, and wanted distraction. The idea of going to her room, of reading, even of sitting quietly in the verandah, was intolerable to her. She longed for action, swiftness, excitement, the help of outside things, of that exterior life which she had told Count Anteoni she had begun to see as a mirage. Had she been in a city she would have gone to a theatre to witness some tremendous drama, or to hear some passionate or terrible opera. Beni-Mora might have been a place of many and strange tragedies, would be no doubt again, but it offered at this moment little to satisfy her mood. The dances of the Cafes Maures, the songs of the smokers of the keef, the long histories of the story-tellers between the lighted candles—she wanted none of these, and, for a moment, she wished she were in London, Paris, any great capital that spent itself to suit the changing moods of men. With a sigh she got up and went out to the Arcade. Batouch joined her immediately.
“What can I do to-night, Batouch?” she said.
“There are the femmes mauresques,” he began.
“Would Madame like to hear the story-teller?”
“No. I should not understand him.”
“I can explain to Madame.”
She stepped out into the road.
“There will be a moon to-night, won’t there?” she said, looking up at the starry sky.
“Yes, Madame, later.”
“What time will it rise?”
“Between nine and ten.”
She stood in the road, thinking. It had occurred to her that she had never seen moonrise in the desert.
“And now it is”—she looked at her watch—“only eight.”
“Does Madame wish to see the moon come up pouring upon the palms—”
“Don’t talk so much, Batouch,” she said brusquely.
To-night the easy and luscious imaginings of the poet worried her like the cry of a mosquito. His presence even disturbed her. Yet what could she do without him? After a pause she said: