They walked slowly, a little apart from each other. Domini looked up at the stars and saw among them the star of Liberty. Androvsky looked at her and saw all the stars in her face. When they reached the tent door they stopped on the warm earth. A lamp was lit within, casting a soft light on the simple furniture and on the whiteness of the two beds, above one of which Domini imagined, though from without she could not see, the wooden crucifix Androvsky had once worn in his breast.
“Shall we stay here a little?” Domini said in a low voice. “Out here?” There was a long pause. Then Androvsky answered:
“Yes. Let us feel it all—all. Let us feel it to the full.”
He caught hold of her hand with a sort of tender roughness and twined his fingers between hers, pressing his palm against hers.
“Don’t let us miss anything to-night,” he said. “All my life is to-night. I’ve had no life yet. To-morrow—who knows whether we shall be dead to-morrow? Who knows? But we’re alive to-night, flesh and blood, heart and soul. And there’s nothing here, there can be nothing here to take our life from us, the life of our love to-night. For we’re out in the desert, we’re right away from anyone, everything. We’re in the great freedom. Aren’t we, Domini? Aren’t we?”
“Yes,” she said. “Yes.”
He took her other hand in the same way. He was facing her, and he held his hands against his heart with hers in them, then pressed her hands against her heart, then drew them back again to his.
“Then let us realise it. Let us forget our prison. Let us forget everything, everything that we ever knew before Beni-Mora, Domini. It’s dead, absolutely dead, unless we make it live by thinking. And that’s mad, crazy. Thought’s the great madness. Domini, have you forgotten everything before we knew each other?”
“Yes,” she said. “Now—but only now. You’ve made me forget it all.”
There was a deep breathing under her voice. He held up her hands to his shoulders and looked closely into her eyes, as if he were trying to send all himself into her through those doors of the soul opened to seeing him. And now, in this moment, she felt that her fierce desire was realised, that he was rising above her on eagle’s wings. And as on the night before the wedding she had blessed all the sorrows of her life, now she blessed silently all the long silence of Androvsky, all his strange reticence, his uncouthness, his avoidance of her in the beginning of their acquaintance. That which had made her pain by being, now made her joy by having been and being no more. The hidden man was rushing forth to her at last in his love. She seemed to hear in the night the crash of a great obstacle, and the voice of the flood of waters that had broken it down at length and were escaping into liberty. His silence of the past now made his speech intensely beautiful and wonderful to her. She wanted to hear the waters more intensely, more intensely.