“A-ah!” cried the camel-driver. “A-ah!”
In the storm his call sounded like a wail of despair.
As the voice of the Diviner fainted away on the wind, and the vision of his wounded face and piercing eyes was lost in the whirling sand grains, Androvsky stretched out his hand and drew together the heavy curtains of the palanquin. The world was shut out. They were alone for the first time as man and wife; moving deliberately on this beast they could not see, but whose slow and monotonous gait swung them gently to and fro, out from the last traces of civilisation into the life of the sands. With each soft step the camel took they went a little farther from Beni-Mora, came a little nearer to that liberty of which Domini sometimes dreamed, to the smiling eyes and the lifted spheres of fire.
She shut her eyes now. She did not want to see her husband or to touch his hand. She did not want to speak. She only wanted to feel in the uttermost depths of her spirit this movement, steady and persistent, towards the goal of her earthly desires, to realise absolutely the marvellous truth that after years of lovelessness, and a dreaminess more benumbing than acute misery, happiness more intense than any she had been able to conceive of in her moments of greatest yearning was being poured into her heart, that she was being taken to the place where she would be with the one human being whose presence blotted out even the memory of the false world and gave to her the true. And whereas in the dead years she had sometimes been afraid of feeling too much the emptiness and the desolation of her life, she was now afraid of feeling too little its fulness and its splendour, was afraid of some day looking back to this superb moment of her earthly fate, and being conscious that she had not grasped its meaning till it was gone, that she had done that most terrible of all things—realised that she had been happy to the limits of her capacity for happiness only when her happiness was numbered with the past.
But could that ever be? Was Time, such Time as this, not Eternity? Could such earthly things as this intense joy ever have been and no longer be? It seemed to her that it could not be so. She felt like one who held Eternity’s hand, and went out with that great guide into the endlessness of supreme perfection. For her, just then, the Creator’s scheme was rounded to a flawless circle. All things fell into order, stars and men, the silent growing things, the seas, the mountains and the plains, fell into order like a vast choir to obey the command of the canticle:
“Benedicite, omnia opera!”
“Bless ye the Lord!” The roaring of the wind about the palanquin became the dominant voice of this choir in Domini’s ears.