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146
CHANDRASHEKHAR.

From her tearful eyes Kariman understood everything. At first she would not consent, but Dalani’s repeated urging, backed by a large sum of money, made the foolish tempted woman yield at last.

The doctor gave the potion. A peon privately informed Taqui that the slave Kariman had just purchased poison from Dr. Mirza Habib.

Taqui pressed Kariman hard and she confessed everything.

‘‘I have made over the poison to Dalani Begum,’ said Kariman.

Forthwith Mahammad Taqui went to Dalani. He found her resting on a seat with her hands folded, face upturned and eyes uplifted. The flood-gates had been let loose from her full, large, lotus-leaf eyes, the tears ran down her cheeks on to her dress, and an empty bowl stood in front. Dalani had drunk off the poison.

“ What is this bowl lying here?” asked Mahammad Taqui.

“That is the poison,” answered Dalani. “I am not a traitorous wretch like you—I obey the orders of my lord You ought to—come, drink the rest and follow me.”

Mahammad Taqui stood speechless. Slowly, slowly, Dalani laid herself down; her eyes closed, all became dark, and Dalani Begum passed away.



CHAPTER III.
THE SOVEREIGN REDUCED TO A COWRIE.

MIR KASIM’s army had retreated after its defeat in the battle of Katwa His broken fortunes further broke on the field of Gheria. Again the Mussalman army