Cleanliness—what a blessed condition that was, a condition to breed bravery. In this early morning hour Beni-Mora looked magically clean. Domini thought of the desperate dirt of London mornings, of the sooty air brooding above black trees and greasy pavements. Surely it was difficult to be clean of soul there. Here it would be easy. One would tune one’s lyre in accord with Nature and be as a singing palm tree beside a water-spring. She took up a little vellum-bound book which she had laid at night upon her dressing-table. It was Of the Imitation of Christ, and she opened it at haphazard and glanced down on a sunlit page. Her eyes fell on these words:
“Love watcheth, and sleeping, slumbereth not. When weary it is not tired; when straitened it is not constrained; when frightened it is not disturbed; but like a vivid flame and a burning torch it mounteth upwards and securely passeth through all. Whosoever loveth knoweth the cry of this voice.”
The sunlight on the page of the little book was like the vivid flame and the burning torch spoken of in it. Heat, light, a fierce vitality. Domini had been weary so long, weary of soul, that she was almost startled to find herself responding quickly to the sacred passion on the page, to the bright beam that kissed it as twin kisses twin. She knelt down to say her morning prayer, but all she could whisper was:
“O, God, renew me. O, God, renew me. Give me power to feel, keenly, fiercely, even though I suffer. Let me wake. Let me feel. Let me be a living thing once more. O, God, renew me, renew me!”
While she prayed she pressed her face so hard against her hands that patches of red came upon her cheeks. And afterwards it seemed to her as if her first real, passionate prayer in Beni-Mora had been almost like a command to God. Was not such a fierce prayer perhaps a blasphemy?
She rose from that prayer to the first of her new days.
After breakfast she looked over the edge of the verandah and saw Batouch and Hadj squatting together in the shadow of the trees below. They were smoking cigarettes and talking eagerly. Their conversation, which was in Arabic, sounded violent. The accented words were like blows. Domini had not looked over the parapet for more than a minute before the two guides saw her and rose smiling to their feet.