“Boris”—she spoke the cruel words very quietly,—“we are not truly one in soul. We have never been. I know that.”
He said nothing.
“Shall we ever be? Think—if one of us were to die, and the other—the one who was left—were left with the knowledge that in our love, even ours, there had always been separation—could you bear that? Could I bear it?”
“Why do you speak like this? We are one. You have all my love. You are everything to me.”
“And yet you are sad, and you try to hide your sadness, your misery, from me. Can you not give it me? I want it—more than I want anything on earth. I want it, I must have it, and I dare to ask for it because I know how deeply you love me and that you could never love another.”
“I never have loved another,” he said.
“I was the very first.”
“The very first. When we married, although I was a man I was as you were.”
She bent down her head and laid her lips on his hand that was in hers.
“Then make our union perfect, as no other union on earth has ever been. Give me your sorrow, Boris. I know what it is.”
“How can—you cannot know,” he said in a broken voice.
“Yes. Love is a diviner, the only true diviner. I told you once what it was, but I want you to tell me. Nothing that we take is beautiful to us, only what we are given.”
“I cannot,” he said.
He tried to take his hand from hers, but she held it fast. And she felt as if she were holding the wall of fire with which he surrounded the secret places of his soul.
“To-day, Boris, when I talked to Count Anteoni, I felt that I had been a coward with you. I had seen you suffer and I had not dared to draw near to your suffering. I have been afraid of you. Think of that.”
“Yes, I have been afraid of you, of your reserve. When you withdrew from me I never followed you. If I had, perhaps I could have done something for you.”
“Domini, do not speak like this. Our love is happy. Leave it as it is.”
“I can’t. I will not. Boris, Count Anteoni has found a home. But you are wandering. I can’t bear that, I can’t bear it. It is as if I were sitting in the house, warm, safe, and you were out in the storm. It tortures me. It almost makes me hate my own safety.”
Androvsky shivered. He took his hand forcibly from Domini’s.
“I have almost hated it, too,” he said passionately. “I have hated it. I’m a—I’m—”
His voice failed. He bent forward and took Domini’s face between his hands.
“And yet there are times when I can bless what I have hated. I do bless it now. I—I love your safety. You—at least you are safe.”
“You must share it. I will make you share it.”
“I can. I shall. I feel that we shall be together in soul, and perhaps to-night, perhaps even to-night.”