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Dalani bashfully held down her head. To her misfortune the Nawab continued, “Go on with your song, why do you stop ? I want to listen.”

This set up a great commotion. The strings of the lute became refractory——they would never be set in order. She threw it down in despair and took up the violin. The violin also seemed to disclose a false ring. “That will do,” said the Nawah to relieve her embarrassment, “you had better sing in accompaniment.” At this, Dalani thought that the Nawab had concluded that she had no knowledge of music. At that, and after that, Dalani could not open her lips. She tried hard, but her lips would not obey—no, not for worlds. They were about to open, they nearly opened, but at last did not open. Like the hibiscus in a cloudy day, the lips were about to open, but opened not; like the rhymes of a timorous poet, they were about to speak, but spoke not; like the endearing address swelling in the throat of a love-lorn lady in a miff at the approach of her truant love, her lips were about to speak, but spoke not. Then suddenly putting down the lute she jerked out, “I won’t sing.”

“Why,” asked the Nawab in surprise, “are you angry?”

“First get me the musical instrument which Englishmen at Calcutta play in accompaniment with their song, then I will sing to you again, otherwise not.”

“If there be no thorn in the way,” said Mir Kasim smiling, “surely I will get you one.”

“Why should there be any thorn?”

“I am afraid I may have to quarrel with the English,” said the Nawab sadly. “Why, have you not heard anything about it?”