“Bless ye the Lord!” It was obedient, not as the slave, but as the free will is obedient, as her heart, which joined its voice with this wind of the desert was obedient, because it gloriously chose with all its powers, passions, aspirations to be so. The real obedience is only love fulfilling its last desire, and this great song was the fulfilling of the last desire of all created things. Domini knew that she did not realise the joy of this moment of her life now when she felt no longer that she was a woman, but only that she was a living praise winging upward to God.
A warm, strong hand clasped hers. She opened her eyes. In the dim twilight of the palanquin she saw the darkness of Androvsky’s tall figure sitting in the crouched attitude rendered necessary by the peculiar seat, and swaying slightly to the movement of the camel. The light was so obscure that she could not see his eyes or clearly discern his features, but she felt that he was gazing at her shadowy figure, that his mind was passionately at work. Had he, too, been silently praising God for his happiness, and was he now wishing the body to join in the soul’s delight?
She left her hand in his passively. The sense of her womanhood, lost for a moment in the ecstasy of worship, had returned to her, but with a new and tremendous meaning which seemed to change her nature. Androvsky forcibly pressed her hand with his, let it go, then pressed it again, repeating the action with a regularity that seemed suggested by some guidance. She imagined him pressing her hand each time his heart pulsed. She did not want to return the pressure. As she felt his hand thus closing and unclosing over hers, she was conscious that she, who in their intercourse had played a dominant part, who had even deliberately brought about that intercourse by her action on the tower, now longed to be passive and, forgetting her own power and the strength and force of her nature, to lose herself in the greater strength and force of this man to whom she had given herself. Never before had she wished to be anything but strong. Nor did she desire weakness now, but only that his nature should rise above hers with eagle’s wings, that when she looked up she should see him, never when she looked down. She thought that to see him below her would kill her, and she opened her lips to say so. But something in the windy darkness kept her silent. The heavy curtains of the palanquin shook perpetually, and the tall wooden rods on which they were slung creaked, making a small, incessant noise like a complaining, which joined itself with the more distant but louder noise made by the leaves of the thousands of palm trees dashed furiously together. From behind came the groaning of one of the camels, borne on the gusts of the wind, and faint sounds of the calling voices of the Arabs who accompanied them. It was not a time to speak.