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54
CHANDRASHEKHAR.

going at the helm, let the crew take the oars. The rest of you shall remain where you are. Budge an inch, and you are dead men; otherwise, there is no fear.”

With these words Protap Ray poked the crew up with his pole and set them about. Shrinking in fear they applied themselves to the cars. Protap himself took the helm, no one spoke a word after that. The boat spun along. Some random shots were fired from the junk, but no one being able to take proper aim in the starlight, they instantly ceased.

A few men belonging to the junk got into a dinghey with muskets and tried to tackle the barge. At first Protap did not oppose them, but when they had come sufiiciently near, be aimed both his guns at them and fired. Two men were wounded, and the rest taking fright put about the boat and withdrew.

When Ramcharan, who lay concealed in the reed-thicket, found that Protap was out of harm’s way and certain sepoys of the junk were approaching to search the copse, he quietly turned on his heel.




CHAPTER VI.
THE THUNDER-STROKE.

THE boat was gliding over the Ganges at night and Shaibalini woke up from her sleep.

There were two cabins in the boat, one was occupied by Foster, and the other by Shaibalini and her maid. Shaibalini had not yet reduced herself into a European lady. She had still her black-bordered sari on. She retained the bangles on her arm, the anklets on her feet, and the Purandarpore maid Parvati was keeping her company. Shaibalini had been sleeping, and she saw a vision. The trees on the banks of the Bheema,