Chandrashekhar (Mullick)/Introduction/Chapter 3


NOT very far from where Protap sank, a skiff was rowing along. One of the passengers saw Protap sink and leapt into the water. The passenger was Chandrashekhar Sharma[1] Chandrashekhar swam up and lifted Protap into the boat. He drove the boat ashore, and accompanied Protap to his home.

Protap’s mother would not let him depart. She fell at his feet and prevailed upon him to partake of her hospitality for the day. Chandrashekhar remained in the dark as to the real object of Protap’s drowning.

Shaibalini did not show her face to Protap again. But Chandrashekhar saw her—saw her, and was charmed.

Just then Chandrashekhar was in the midst of a great perplexity. He had barely stepped over his thirty-second year. He was a householder, yet not worldly-minded. Up to this, he had not married. Marriage generally stands in the way of acquiring knowledge, hence he was very much averse to it. But lately he had lost his mother, a little over a year. Under the new conditions, celibacy obstructed the acquisition of knowledge. In the first place, he had to cook with his own hands; that cost him no little time, and it was a drawback to acquiring and imparting knowledge. In the next place, there was the worship of the family idol——the Salagram in his house. He had to do every thing with his own hands in connection with its worship, and that cost him time again. The worship was not properly done, the household was upset, so much so, that he could not get up his meals every day. Books were mislaid and could not be found. He often forgot where he kept the moneys he received and the persons he paid. There was not much expense, yet his income proved inadequate. Chandrashekhar thought that by marrying, matters might be bettered somehow.

But in the event of marriage, he had made up his mind not to marry a beautiful girl, for such a girl might enthral his mind; he did not care to be fettered by domestic ties.

While in such a frame of mind, Chandrashekhar came across Shaibalini. The sight of her broke the ascetic’s vow. He deliberated, he hesitated, and, at last becoming his own match-maker, he married Shaibalini. Who is proof against the charms of beauty!

The story opens eight years after this marriage.

  1. Sharma is the generic title of a Brahmin.