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CHANDRASHEKHAR.

“Kulsam, have you heard? ” said Dalani. “ It seems out deliverance is at hand.”

“How?”

“You seem not to understand anything. When those who brought the Nawab’s Begum in durance, have got such a cordial invitation from him, there must be some deep meaning in it. I suspect they will breathe their last to-day.”

“Do you feel joyous at the idea?”

“Why not? I would much rather there should not be any bloodshed if it could be helped, but if the death of those who needlessly brought us under confinement could procure our deliverance, I should be glad, instead of sorry for it.”

“But why are you so anxious for your deliverance? They can have no other motive than keeping us in confinement. They do not maltreat us in any way— only there is the confinement—but we are women, wherever we might go, we have got the same confinement for us in some shape or other.”

Dalani was extremely wrath and said, “When I am confined in my own house, I am Dalani Begum still. In the Englishmen’s boat I am nothing but a slave. I have half a mind not to exchange words with you any more. Can you tell me the cause of our confinement?”

“Why, they haven’t made a secret of it; just as Mr.Hay is confined at Monghyr as a hostage for the good behaviour of the English, so we are confined here as hostages for the Nawab. No sooner Mr. Hay is released, than they will set us free. If any harm is done to Mr. Hay then we must come in for similar treatment in our turn, otherwise there is no fear.”

Dalani grew still more angry and said, “I do not know your Mr. Hay, nor do I care to listen to your