Sometimes Androvsky watched her, and there was a great calm in her face, but there was no rebuke, no smallness of anger, no hint of despair. Always he had felt her strength of mind and body, but never so much as now. Could he rest on it? Dared he? He did not know. And the day seemed to him to become a dream, and the silence recalled to him the silence of the monastery in which he had worshipped God before the stranger came. He thought that in this silence he ought to feel that she was deliberately raising barriers between them, but—it was strange—he could not feel this. In her silence there was no bitterness. When is there bitterness in strength? He rode on and on beside her, and his sense of a dream deepened, helped by the influence of the desert. Where were they going? He did not know. What was her purpose? He could not tell. But he felt that she had a purpose, that her mind was resolved. Now and then, tearing himself with an effort from the dream, he asked himself what it could be. What could be in store for him, for them, after the thing he had told? What could be their mutual life? Must it not be for ever at an end? Was it not shattered? Was it not dust, like the dust of the desert that rose round their horses’ feet? The silence did not tell him, and again he ceased from wondering and the dream closed round him. Were they not travelling in a mirage, mirage people, unreal, phantomlike, who would presently fade away into the spaces of the sun? The sand muffled the tread of the horses’ feet. The desert understood their silence, clothed it in a silence more vast and more impenetrable. And Androvsky had made his effort. He had spoken the truth at last. He could do no more. He was incapable of any further action. As Domini felt herself to be in the hands of God, he felt himself to be in the hands of this woman who had received his confession with this wonderful calm, who was leading him he knew not whither in this wonderful silence.
When the camp was pitched, however, he noticed something that caught him sharply away from the dreamlike, unreal feeling, and set him face to face with fact that was cold as steel. Always till now the dressing-tent had been pitched beside their sleeping-tent, with the flap of the entrance removed so that the two tents communicated. To-night it stood apart, near the sleeping-tent, and in it was placed one of the small