He laid his lips upon hers in a desperate caress that almost suffocated her. Then he took his lips away from her lips and kissed her throat, holding her head back against his shoulder. She shut her eyes. He was indeed teaching her to forget. Even the memory of the day in the garden when she heard the church bell chime and the sound of Larbi’s flute went from her. She remembered nothing any more. The past was lost or laid in sleep by the spell of sensation. Her nature galloped like an Arab horse across the sands towards the sun, towards the fire that sheds warmth afar but that devours all that draws near to it. At that moment she connected Androvsky with the tremendous fires eternally blazing in the sun. She had a desire that he should hurt her in the passionate intensity of his love for her. Her nature, which till now had been ever ready to spring into hostility at an accidental touch, which had shrunk instinctively from physical contact with other human beings, melted, was utterly transformed. She felt that she was now the opposite of all that she had been—more woman than any other woman who had ever lived. What had been an almost cold strength in her went to increase the completeness of this yielding to one stronger than herself. What had seemed boyish and almost hard in her died away utterly under the embrace of this fierce manhood.
“Domini,” he spoke, whispering while he kissed her, “Domini, the fire’s gone out. It’s dark.”
He lifted her a little in his arms, still kissing her.
“Domini, it’s dark, it’s dark.”
He lifted her more. She stood up, with his arms about her, looking towards where the fire had been. She put her hands against his face and softly pressed it back from hers, but with a touch that was a caress. He yielded to her at once.
“Look!” he said. “Do you love the darkness? Tell me—tell me that you love it.”
She let her hand glide over his cheek in answer.
“Look at it. Love it. All the desert is in it, and our love in the desert. Let us stay in the desert, let us stay in it for ever—for ever. It is your garden—yours. It has brought us everything, Domini.”
He took her hand and pressed it again and again over his cheek lingeringly. Then, abruptly, he dropped it.
“Come!” he said. “Domini.”
And he drew her in through the tent door almost violently.
A stronger gust of the night wind followed them. Androvsky took his arms slowly from Domini and turned to let down the flap of the tent. While he was doing this she stood quite still. The flame of the lamp flickered, throwing its light now here, now there, uneasily. She saw the crucifix lit up for an instant and the white bed beneath it. The wind stirred her dark hair and was cold about her neck. But the warmth there met and defied it. In that brief moment, while Androvsky was fastening the tent, she seemed to live through centuries of