The peace that had descended upon her was balm for her soul, and was sent merely for that, to stop the pain she suffered from old wounds that she might be comfortably at rest. The crescendo—the beautiful crescendo—of calm, of strength, of faith, of hope which she had, as it were, heard like a noble music within her spirit had been the David sent to play upon the harp to her Saul, that from her Saul the black demon of unrest, of despair, might depart. That was what she had believed. She had believed that she had come to Africa for herself, and now God, in the silence, was telling her that this was not so, that He had brought her to Africa to sacrifice herself in the redemption of another. And as she listened—listened, with bowed head, and eyes in which tears were gathering, from which tears were falling upon her clasped hands—she knew that it was true, she knew that God meant her to put away her selfishness, to rise above it. Those eagle’s wings of which she had thought—she must spread them. She must soar towards the place of the angels, whither good women soar in the great moments of their love, borne up by the winds of God. On the minaret of the mosque of Sidi-Zerzour, while Androvsky remained in the dark shadow with a curse, she had mounted, with prayer, surely a little way towards God. And now God said to her, “Mount higher, come nearer to me, bring another with you. That was my purpose in leading you to Beni-Mora, in leading you far out into the desert, in leading you into the heart of the desert.”
She had been led to Africa for a definite end, and now she knew what that end was. On the mosque of the minaret of Sidi-Zerzour she had surely seen prayer travelling, the soul of prayer travelling. And she had asked herself—“Whither?” She had asked herself where was the halting-place, with at last the pitched tent, the camp fires, and the long, the long repose? And when she came down into the court of the mosque and found Androvsky watching the old Arab who struck against the mosque and cursed, she had wished that Androvsky had mounted with her a little way towards God.
He should mount with her. Always she had longed to see him above her. Could she leave him below? She knew she could not. She understood that God did not mean her to. She understood perfectly. And tears streamed from her eyes. For now there came upon her a full comprehension of her love for Androvsky. His revelation had not killed it, as, for a moment, in her passionate personal anger, she had been inclined to think. Indeed it seemed to her now that, till this hour of silence, she had never really loved him, never known how to love. Even in the tent at Arba she had not fully loved him, perfectly loved him. For the thought of self, the desires of self, the passion of self, had entered into and been mingled with her love. But now she loved him perfectly, because she loved as God intended her to love. She loved him as God’s envoy sent to him.