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INTRODUCTION.

age, the memory only of the love of childhood is left; the rest all vanish, but how sweet is that memory!

Every boy must have been impressed some time or other with the face of some girl as particularly sweet—there is some transcendent charm in her eyes. How often did he pause in his play and look up at her face, how frequently did he stand perdu in her path to have a peep at her. Then that sweet face, that frank gaze—all, all have been swept away in the onrush of time, no one knows whither. We search the whole world to find it again—only the memory of it is left. There is a curse on the love of childhood.

Shaibalini was under the impression that she would be married to Protap. Protap knew it was not to be so. She was the daughter of an agnate; the relationship was distant, but yet an agnate. This was the first error in Shaibalini’s reckoning.

Then Shaibalini was the daughter of poor parents. She had no relation alive excepting her mother. They had nothing to call their own save a hut and Shaibalini’s wealth of beauty. Protap also was poor.

Shaibalini grew apace. Her beauty went on completing itself like the horned moon, but there was no marriage. There was expense in the matter, and who was to bear it? Who would care to search out that hoard of beauty in that wilderness and welcome it as an invaluable treasure?

Shaibalini increased in understanding. She knew that she had no other happiness in this world except in Protap, and she also knew that she had no chance of getting Protap in this life.

They took counsel of each other, they deliberated for days in private, and no one knew. When they had made up their minds, both went for a bath to the