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But Protap’s case was somewhat different from other ancient Zemindars. To save his own property, or to chastise a powerful foe, he would have recourse to bandits, but never for the sake of wanton oppression or spoliation. He would often resort to these acts of violence inspired with a desire to uphold the weak and the oppressed. Now he was ready to follow that course again.

At the first blush of the morning after Shaibalini’s flight from the skiff, Protap rose from his sleep and was glad to find Ramcharan had come. But he grew uneasy for Shaibalini. He waited for her for some time, and when she did not turn up he began to search. He looked for her along the bank of the river, but with no result. It had now gone pretty far into the day; Protap despaired of finding her out and came to the conclusion that Shaibalini must have drowned herself. He knew that in the then frame of her mind it was not an unlikely eventuality.

Now Protap began to meditate: “I am the cause of Shaibalini’s death,” was his first thought. “How am I to blame?” he further thought. “I have never swerved from the path of rectitude; whatever might have led to her death I could not prevent it.” Therefore, Protap could not find any reason to get angry with himself. He grew a little displeased with Chandrashekhar——why did he marry Shaibalini? He felt slightly annoyed with Rupasi—why was he married to her and not to Shaibalini? He became angry with Sundari—if she had not set him on to this quest, there would have been no swimming in the Ganges with Shaibalini and Shaibalini would not have died. But above all was his ire at Foster—if he had not haled Shaibalini away from her home, none of these things would have