Page:Chandrashekhar (1905).djvu/147

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

sent a report to the Nawab that very night bristling with a tissue of falsehoods.

Taqui wrote that the Begum had been found in Amyatt’s boat. He had brought her with all due honour and kept her in the fort. But he could not send her to the Nawab without special orders. He had heard from the Englishmen’s comrades, servants, crew, sepoys, and other survivors, that the Begum had lived in the boat as Amyatt’s mistress. Both had slept on the same bed. The Begum herself had admitted all this. She was now a Christian, and refused to go to Monghyr. “Don’t force me,” says she, “let me go my own way, please. I have a mind to go to Calcutta and live with Mr. Amyatt’s friends. If you do not let me go I will try to escape, and if you attempt to send me to Monghyr by force, I am sure to commit suicide.” Whether she should be sent to Monghyr under these circumstances, or kept there, or allowed to go her own way, were matters for which he awaited orders. No sooner the orders came than he would proceed to their carrying out. To this effect Taqui indited a report.

That very night a mounted courier started with the report for Monghyr.

People say that our mind sometimes shadows forth distant and unknown calamities. Not that it is true: but the moment the mounted courier left Murshidabad with the report, a thrill ran across Dalani’s frame. That very moment the tall individual by her side spoke the first words. Whether it was his voice, or the first quickenings of an approaching calamity, whatever it might be, that very moment she felt a cold shiver shoot across her body.

“I know you,” began the man at her side, “you are Dalani Begum.”

Dalani gave a start.