Durgesa Nandini/Book 1/Chapter 8




Bimala was standing m the cottage of Abhiram Swami, who was seated on the ground, upon his devotional seat. She was narrating in detail how they had met with Jagat Singha. "To-day," said she, when she had done, "is the fourteenth day; tomorrow the fortnight will complete."

"Well, what have you determined on?" asked Abhiram Swami.

"It is to get sage advice" replied Bimala "that I have sought you, Sir."

"Good," said the Swami. "My advice is—think no more about the matter."

Bimala remained silent, exceedingly dejected.

"Why do you look so sad? Eh?" asked Abhiram Swami.

"What, then, is to be done for Tilottama?" returned she.

"Why?" asked Abhiram Swami curiously. "Have the germs of love sprung up in Tilottama's mind?"

"How much shall I disclose to you, Sire!" said she after a pause. "I have been watching her motions daily and nightly these good fourteen days, and am perfectly satisfied that Tilottama has conceived a very deep feeling."

"You, women," replied the ascetic with a smile, "as soon as you perceive signs of affection, outright conclude it to be deep. Bimala, don't be uneasy on the score of Tilottama's future happiness. It is because she's a girl that her mental balance has been disturbed at first sight. She'll no doubt soon forget Jagat Singha, should all talk on the subject be studiously refrained from."

"Not so, Sire," said Bimala, "The signs seen in Tilottama are not what you take them for. Within this fortnight, a change has come over her nature. She no longer finds delight in talking with her youthful companions or with me; nay, she seldom or never talks now-a-days. Her books are rotting under the couch; her flowers are withering for lack of water; her birds are pining for neglect;—she dosn't eat;—she dosn't sleep; she dosn't make her toilet; she, who was never given to thinking, is now wholly absorbed in thought every hour in the four and twenty. There's a palor in Tilottama's face."

Abhiram Swami remained silent for a long while.

"I was under the impression," he said, "that deep affection can not spring up at first sight; but woman's nature, specially that of girls, is known to God only. But what are you to do? Virendra will never lend his consent to such a match."

"For that very fear," said Bimala, "I havn't up to this time disclosed this matter; nor did I in the temple tell our name and lineage to Jagat Singha. But now that the noble Singha," here Bimala's face underwent a slight change, "now that the noble Singha has resolved to make friends with Man Singha, what's the harm in his accepting Jagat Singha for his son-in-law?"

Abhiram.   "Why will Man Singha consent to such a marriage?"

Bimala.   "If he dosn't, the Prince is free to act."

Abhiram.   "And why, again, will Jagat Singha marry the daughter of Virendra Singha?"

Bimala.   "What side, I pray, is entirely free from caste blemishes? The ancestors of Jayadhar Singha belonged also to the Yadu dynasty."

"Should a daughter of such a family marry the son of the Musalman's brother-in-law?"

Bimala fixed her look on the ascetic. "And why not so?" said she. "What family is too low for the Yadu dynasty?"

At these words, the eyes of the ascetic darted fire. "Wretch!" exclaimed he in a stern voice. "Wretch! thou hast not forgotten thy own wretched fate? Out of my sight!"