“He didn’t ask?”
“But, Boris, how could he?”
After a moment of silence he said:
“No, of course not.”
He shifted in his chair, crossed one leg over the other, put his hands on the arms of it, and continued:
“What did he talk about?”
“A little about Amara.”
“That was all?”
“He hadn’t been here long when you came—”
“But he told me one thing that was horrible,” she added, obedient to her instinct always to tell the complete truth to him, even about trifles which had nothing to do with their lives or their relation to each other.
“Horrible!” Androvsky said, uncrossing his legs and leaning forward in his chair.
She sat down by him. They both had their backs to the light and were in shadow.
“What was it about—some crime here?”
“Oh, no! It was about that liqueur you saw on the table.”
Androvsky was sitting upon a basket chair. As she spoke it creaked under a violent movement that he made.
“How could—what could there be that was horrible connected with that?” he asked, speaking slowly.
“It was made by a monk, a Trappist—”
He got up from his chair and went to the opening of the tent.
“What—” she began, thinking he was perhaps feeling the pain in his head more severely.
“I only want to be in the air. It’s rather hot there. Stay where, you are, Domini, and—well, what else?”
He stepped out into the sand, and stood just outside the tent in its shadow.
“It was invented by a Trappist monk of the monastery of El-Largani, who disappeared from the monastery. He had taken the final vows. He had been there for over twenty years.”
“He—he disappeared—did the priest say?”
“I don’t think—I am sure he doesn’t know. But what does it matter? The awful thing is that he should leave the monastery after taking the eternal vows—vows made to God.”
After a moment, during which neither of them spoke and Androvsky stood quite still in the sand, she added:
Androvsky came a step towards her, then paused.
“Why do you say that, Domini?”
“I was thinking of the agony he must be enduring if he is still alive.”
“Of mind, of heart. You—I know, Boris, you can’t feel with me on certain subjects—yet—”
“Yet!” he said.
“Boris”—she got up and came to the tent door, but not out upon the sand—“I dare to hope that some day perhaps——”
She was silent, looking towards him with her brave, steady eyes.
“Agony of heart?” Androvsky said, recurring to her words. “You think—what—you pity that man then?”
“And don’t you?”
“I—what has he to do with—us? Why should we—?”