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CHANDRASHEKHAR.

Sundari knew nothing of Shaibalini’s insanity. She first of all made her obeisance to Chandrashekhar whom she found in an ascetic garb. Then directing her eyes to Shaibalini she said, “You have done well in bringing her back. Everything will be made straight by going through an expiation.”

But Sundari was astonished that although Chandrashekhar was present, Shaibalini would neither move away not draw her veil; on the other hand, she bent her eyes on Sundari and began to giggle. “Perhaps this is the English way,” thought Sundari. “Shaibalini must have picked it up in the Englishman’s company.”[1] Then Sundari went close to her and yet far enough to keep her dress from coming in contact with Shaihalini and sat down.[2] “La, Shaibalini, do you recognise me?” said Sundari smiling.

“Certainly I do, you are Parvati," answered Shaibalini.

“A plague upon you! you have forgotten me so soon,” said Sundari.

“Why should I forget you? Don’t you remember how I smashed you to atoms when you touched my rice-pot? Sister Parvati, do sing a song please.” Instantly she herself began to sing :—

“And that’s my secret, love, and that alone,
From Krishna’s side loved Radha fair is gone.
From the lap of the cloud smiles not the moon,
Vainly have I laid the love-trap so soon.”

  1. It is a custom with Hindu women to appear before their husbands with their veil on in the presence of all persons excepting their own children and certain other relations.
  2. Contact with Shaibalini meant defilement, as she had left her home with a Christian.