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Reader, you will be astonished to hear, Ramcharan went and found Shaibalini asleep. Surely, no sleep is possible under such circumstances! Possible or not, we cannot say; we are writing just as it happened. Without rousing Shaibalini, Ramcharan cameback to Protap and said, “She is sleeping, shall I wake her up?” Protap was astounded and thought that the savant Chanakya left his famous couplet about woman incomplete[1] a woman’s sleep is sixteen-fold greater than man’s. Aloud he said, “There is no need for pushing matters to that extent, you can go to sleep—we had no end of trouble tonight; I myself too must take a little rest.” Ramcharan went away to sleep. Night had not yet altogether spent. The house, the city beyond, everywhere, there was stillness and darkness. Alone, Protap silently went upstairs and walked towards his own bedchamber. Reaching his room, he opened the door and saw Shaibalini lying on his bed. Ramcharan had forgotten to tell him that he had left Shaibalini in his bedroom.

In the light of the lamp it seemed to him as if someone had heaped pure blooming flowers on his white bed; as if some one had cast adrift white smiling lilies on the still white expanse of the Ganges during the rains. What tranquil soul-entrancing loveliness! Once seen, Protap could not turn his eyes. Not that he was bewitched by the charm of beauty, or that his senses were overpowered by any sensuous feeling, but in sheer abstraction he gazed as one spell-bound. Events of long bygone days were conjured up in his mind; suddenly the sea of his memory was churned and sent up billows on billows.

  1. The allusion is to a famous couplet in Sanskrit by Pundit Chanakya an aphorist, in which he described some of the principal characteristic; of man and woman.