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32 CHANDRASHEKHAR.

on the other hand, why am I so very anxious to see that blooming lotus-like face of my wife? It is not that I make light of the Lord’s word, but I am certainly getting involved in the inexhorable tangles of illusion, nor do I feel inclined to break through them. If I were to live up to eternity, yet up to that eternity I would desire to remain enveloped in this illusion. When shall I see Shaibalini again?

Suddenly a great fear crept into his mind. What if I should miss Shaibalini on reaching home? Why should I miss her? If she is ill? Everyone is liable to illness, she will get cured. Chandrashekhar meditated and asked himself—Why do I feel so much uneasiness at the mere idea of her illness? Who is above it? But then if she is seriously ill? Chandrashekhar quickened his pace. If she is ill, God will cure her; I will make propitiatory offerings for her cure. But if she be not cured? Tears started into Chandrashekhar’s eyes. He thought——would God deprive me of this jewel at this time of my life after having once given it to me? Nothing is strange in that! Am I so much favoured of Him that He will dispense nothing but happiness for my lot? May be, there is a great sorrow in store for me, who knows? If on my return, I do not find Shaibalini, if I hear that in severe illness she has departed this life?—then surely I will not live. Chandrashekhar set himself to a brisk pace. On entering the village he observed the folk very gravely looking at his face,—he could not understand the meaning of that look. Seeing him, the boys quietly smiled. Some followed him at a distance, the elderly people turned round at his sight. Chandrashekhar was astonished; he was frightened, became abstracted, and without glancing on any side reached the door of his house.