She could not conceive of Androvsky’s not loving her, of his not having loved her from the moment when he saw her in the sun. To him, too, the desert had made a revelation—the revelation of her face, and of the soul behind it looking through it. In the flames of the sun, as they went into the desert, the flames of their two spirits had been blended. She knew that certainly and for ever. Then how could it be possible that Androvsky should not go out with her into the desert?
“Why did you speak to me?” he said.
“We came into the desert together,” she answered simply. “We had to know each other.”
“And now—now—we have to say——”
His voice ceased. Far away there was the thin sound of a chime. Domini had never before heard the church bell in the garden, and now she felt as if she heard it, not with her ears, but with her spirit. As she heard she felt Androvsky’s hand, which had been hot upon hers, turn cold. He let her hand go, and again she was stricken by the horrible sound she had heard the previous night in the desert, when he turned his horse and rode away with her. And now, as then, he turned away from her in silence, but she knew that this time he was leaving her, that this movement was his final good-bye. With his head bowed down he took a few steps. He was near to a turning of the path. She watched him, knowing that within less than a moment she would be watching only the trees and the sand. She gazed at the bent figure, calling up all her faculties, crying out to herself passionately, desperately, “Remember it—remember it as it is—there—before you—just as it is—for ever.” As it reached the turning, in the distance of the garden rose the twitter of the flute of Larbi. Androvsky stopped, stood still with his back turned towards her. And Larbi, hidden and far off, showered out his little notes of African love, of love in the desert where the sun is everlasting, and the passion of man is hot as the sun, where Liberty reigns, lifting her cymbals that are as spheres of fire, and the footsteps of Freedom are heard upon the sand, treading towards the south.
Larbi played—played on and on, untiring as the love that blossomed with the world, but that will not die when the world dies.