“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.”
Again and again she said the words: “It securely passeth through all—it securely passeth through all.” Now, at last, she was to know the uttermost truth of those words which she had loved in her happiness, which she clung to now as a little child clings to its father’s hand.
The carriage turned to the right, went on a little way, then stopped.
Domini lifted her face from her hands. She saw before her a great door which stood open. Above it was a statue of the Madonna and Child, and on either side were two angels with swords and stars. Underneath was written, in great letters:
Beyond, through the doorway, she saw an open space upon which the sunlight streamed, three palm trees, and a second door which was shut. Above this second door was written:
“Les dames n’entrent pas ici.”
As she looked the figure of a very old monk with a long white beard shuffled slowly across the patch of sunlight and disappeared.
The coachman turned round.
“You descend here,” he said in a cheerful voice. “Madame will be entertained in the parlour on the right of the first door, but Monsieur can go on to the hotellerie. It’s over there.”
He pointed with his whip and turned his back to them again.
Domini sat quite still. Her lips moved, once more repeating the words of The Imitation. Androvsky got up from his seat, stepped heavily out of the carriage, and stood beside it. The coachman was busy lighting a long cigar. Androvsky leaned forward towards Domini with his arms on the carriage and looked at her with tearless eyes.
“Domini,” at last he whispered. “Domini!”
Then she turned to him, bent towards him, put her hands on his shoulders and looked into his face for a long time, as if she were trying to see it now for all the years that were perhaps to come. Her eyes, too, were tearless.
At last she leaned down and touched his forehead with her lips.