She was still weeping, but she began to feel calm, as if the stillness of this hour before the dawn entered into her soul. She thought of herself now only as a vessel into which God was pouring His purpose and His love.
Just as dawn was breaking, as the first streak of light stole into the east and threw a frail spear of gold upon the sands, she was conscious again of a thrill of life within her, of the movement of her unborn child. Then she lifted her head from her hand, looking towards the east, and whispered:
“Give me strength for one more thing—give me strength to be silent!”
She waited as if for an answer. Then she rose from her knees, bathed her face and went out to the tent door to Androvsky.
“Boris!” she said.
He rose from his knees and looked at her, holding the little wooden crucifix in his hand.
“Domini?” he said in an uncertain voice.
“Put it back into your breast. Keep it for ever, Boris.”
As if mechanically, and not removing his eyes from her, he put the crucifix into his breast. After a moment she spoke again, quietly.
“Boris, you never wished to stay here. You meant to stay here for me. Let us go away from Amara. Let us go to-day, now, in the dawn.”
“Us!” he said.
There was a profound amazement in his voice.
“Yes,” she answered.
“Away from Amara—you and I—together?”
“Yes, Boris, together.”
“Where—where can we go?”
The amazement seemed to deepen in his voice. His eyes were watching her with an almost fierce intentness. In a flash of insight she realised that, just then, he was wondering about her as he had never wondered before, wondering whether she was really the good woman at whose feet his sin-stricken soul had worshipped. Yes, he was asking himself that question.
“Boris,” she said, “will you leave yourself in my hands? We have talked of our future life. We have wondered what we should do. Will you let me do as I will, let the future be as I choose?”
In her heart she said “as God chooses.”
“Yes, Domini,” he answered. “I am in your hands, utterly in your hands.”
“No,” she said.
Neither of them spoke after that till the sunlight lay above the towers and minarets of Amara. Then Domini said:
“We will go to-day—now.”
And that morning the camp was struck, and the new journey began—the journey back.
A silence had fallen between Domini and Androvsky which neither seemed able to break. They rode on side by side across the sands towards the north through the long day. The tower of Amara faded in the sunshine above the white crests of the dunes. The Arab villages upon their little hills disappeared in the quivering gold. New vistas of desert opened before them, oases crowded with palms, salt lakes and