Her faith was deep and strong. Nothing could shake it. But might it not shake the doubt from another’s soul, as a great, pure wind shakes leaves that are dead from a tree that will blossom with the spring? Hitherto a sense of intense delicacy had prevented her from ever trying to draw near definitely to her husband’s sadness. But her interview with Count Anteoni, and the sound of this voice praying, praying for the dead men in the sand, stirred her to an almost fierce resolution. She had given herself to Androvsky. He had given himself to her. They were one. She had a right to draw near to his pain, if by so doing there was a chance that she might bring balm to it. She had a right to look closer into his eyes if hers, full of faith, could lift the shadow from them.
She leaned back in the darkness of the tent. The old Arab had wandered further on among the graves. His voice was faint in the sand, faint and surely piteous, as if, even while he prayed, he felt that his prayers were useless, that the fate of the dead was pronounced beyond recall. Domini listened to him no more. She was praying for the living as she had never prayed before, and her prayer was the prelude not to patience but to action. It was as if her conversation with Count Anteoni had set a torch to something in her soul, something that gave out a great flame, a flame that could surely burn up the sorrow, the fear, the secret torture in her husband’s soul. All the strength of her character had been roused by the sight of the peace she desired for the man she loved; enthroned in the heart of this other man who was only her friend.
The voice of the old Arab died away in the distance, but before it died away Domini had ceased from hearing it.
She heard only a voice within her, which said to her, “If you really love be fearless. Attack this sorrow which stands like a figure of death between you and your husband. Drive it away. You have a weapon—faith. Use it.”
It seemed to her then that through all their intercourse she had been a coward in her love, and she resolved that she would be a coward no longer.
Domini had said to herself that she would speak to her husband that night. She was resolved not to hesitate, not to be influenced from her purpose by anything. Yet she knew that a great difficulty would stand in her way—the difficulty of Androvsky’s intense, almost passionate, reserve. This reserve was the dominant characteristic in his nature. She thought of it sometimes as a wall of fire that he had set round about the secret places of his soul to protect them even from her eyes. Perhaps it was strange that she, a woman of a singularly frank temperament, should be attracted by reserve in another, yet she knew that she was so attracted by the reserve of her husband. Its existence hinted to her depths in him which, perhaps, some day she might sound, she alone, strength which was hidden for her some day to prove.