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“A letter has got to be taken to Gurgan Khan.”

Kulsam remained mute in astonishment.

“What do you say to it? ” asked Dalani.

“Who will send the letter?”

“I. ”

“What, have you gone mad?”


Both sat silent for a time. The two peacocks finding them speechless perched upon their respective roosts. The Cockatoo set up a stupid scream. The remaining birds busied themselves in pecking their rations. “The deed is very simple,” said Kulsam after a time. “If a eunuch is tipped a bit, he will carry the letter at once. But that is very risky. Should the Nawab come to know, then both of us would be killed. However, you know your own business best, I am a mere servant. Let me have the letter and——some cash.”

Kulsam then went away with the letter. Providence made this letter the thread which knitted the destiny of Dalani and Shaibalini together.


THE name of the addressee of Dalani’s letter was Gurgan Khan.

Of all the state-officers who were employed in Bengal at that time, Gurgan Khan was one of the highest and best. By nationality he was an Armenian; Ispahan was his birthplace. A report is current that in early life he was a clothier, but he was a man of great genius and extraordinary talents. Within a short time of his service, he rose to the rank of Commander-in- Chief of the Army. Not only that, soon after he came