The woman, silent now, but quivering, laid oil in her hand and put her palm over the wound in his right side. He winced, and the wound absorbed his life again, as thousands of times before. And in the dark, wild pain and panic of his consciousness rang only one cry: “Oh, how can she take this death out of me? She can never know! She can never understand! She can never equal it!…”

In silence, she softly rhythmically chafed the scar with oil. Absorbed now in her priestess’s task, softly, softly gathering power, while the vitals of the man howled in panic. But as she gradually gathered power, and passed in a girdle round him to the opposite scar, gradually warmth began to take the place of the cold terror, and he felt: ‘I am going to be Warm again, and I am going to be whole! I shall be warm like the morning. I shall be a man. It doesn’t need understanding. It needs newness. She brings me newness–‘

And he listened to the faint, ceaseless wail of distress of his wounds, sounding as if for ever under the horizons of his consciousness. But the wail was growing dim, more dim.

He thought of the woman toiling over him: ‘She does not know! She does not realise the death in me. But she has another consciousness. She comes to me from the opposite end of the night.’

Having chafed all his lower body with oil, having worked with her slow intensity of a priestess, so that the sound of his wounds grew dimmer and dimmer, suddenly she put her breast against the wound in his left side, and her arms round him, folding over the wound in his right side, and she pressed him to her, in a power of living warmth, like the folds of a river. And the wailing died out altogether, and there was a stillness, and darkness in his soul, unbroken, dark stillness, wholeness.