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SEATED in a mango-grove on the bank of the Bhagirathi, a boy was listening to the twilight murmur of the waters. At his feet a little girl, stretched on a bed of. springing turf, was silently looking at his face. She looked and looked and looked : she looked at the sky, the river, and the trees, and again looked at his face. The boy’s name was Protap, that of the girl was Shaibalini. Shaibalini was then a child of seven or eight, while Protap was iust stepping into youth.

Overhead the Papia [1] flitted away flooding the skies with the modulations of its music Shaibalini in an imitative melody made the mango-grove on the bank tremulous with Vibration. The murmur of the Ganges mingled with the mimic song.

The girl with her small hands strung a garland of wild flowers, delicate as the hands which culled them, and hung it round the neck of the boy. Anon she took it off and twisted it round her chignon; the next moment she put it off, only to place it round his neck again. It could not be settled who should wear the garland, and so finding a fat sleek cow grazing hard by,

Shaibalini wound the contested garland round its horns

  1. The Indian sparrow-hawk, a song—bird, with a shrill, crescendo note.