“Do you want to be alone henceforward?” she asked. “And was your mission nothing? Was it all untrue?”
“Nay!” he said. “Neither were your lovers in the past nothing. They were much to you, but you took more than you gave. Then you came to me for salvation from your own excess. And I, in my mission, I too ran to excess. I gave more than I took, and that also is woe and vanity. So Pilate and the high priests saved me from my own excessive salvation. Don’t run to excess now in living, Madeleine. It only means another death.”
She pondered bitterly, for the need for excessive giving was in her, and she could not bear to be denied.
“And will you not come back to us?” she said. “Have you risen for yourself alone?”
He heard the sarcasm in her voice, and looked at her beautiful face which still was dense with excessive need for salvation from the woman she had been, the female who had caught men at her will. The cloud of necessity was on her, to be saved from the old, wilful Eve, who had embraced many men and taken more than she gave. Now the other doom was on her. She wanted to give without taking. And that, too, is hard, and cruel to the warm body.
“I have not risen from the dead in order to seek death again,” he said.
She glanced up at him, and saw the weariness settling again on his waxy face, and the vast disillusion in his dark eyes, and the underlying indifference. He felt her glance, and said to himself:
“Now my own followers will want to do me to death again, for having risen up different from their expectation.”
“But you will come to us, to see us, us who love you?” she said.
He laughed a little and said:
“Ah, yes.” Then he added: “Have you a little money? Will you give me a little money? I owe it.”