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CHANDRASHEKHAR.


CHAPTER VIII.
IN THE BATTLE-FIELD.

WHEN Chandrashekhar came out of the tent with Shaibalini, he found Ramananda Swami waiting. “ Chandrashekhar, what do you propose to do now? ” asked the Swami.

“How to save Shaibalini, is the question now,” said Chandrashekhar. “Cannon-balls are raining all around, the smoke has covered up all space; where to go is the problem now.”

“Don’t be uneasy,” said the Swami. “Do you mark the way the Mussalmans are flying. Where there is flight before battle, the chances of victory can be well imagined. These English are extremely fortunate, I find them powerful and full of stratagem. In all likelihood they will one day possess the whole of India. Come let us follow the flying Mussalmans. You need not be anxious for me, but I am very much concerned about the safety of this girl.”

The three followed together in the wake of the flying Mussalmans. Suddenly they saw in front a body of well-accoutred and armed Hindu soldiers filing impetuously out of a hard rocky defile eager to meet the English. In the centre was their leader on horseback. They all knew him at once to be Protap. Atthe sight of Protap, Chandrashekhar became agitated, and soon after with a throbbing heart he said, “Protap, why do I find you in this hopeless fight? Go back.”

“I was coming in search of you,” said Protap. “Come, let me lead you to a place of safety.”

With these words Protap placed the trio in the centre of his small band and marched back. He was perfectly acquainted with all the defiles in that hill-