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CHANDRASHEKHAR.


Shaibalini knew her pretty face had stood her in good stead. Her handsome looks had procured the faith of the Nawab on her words and made him exceptionally kind, else why should he take the trouble of explaining so much? She felt emboldened, and with folded palms resumed——

“If you have been so very gracious to this helpless woman, you will kindly excuse another prayer of hers. My husband’s rescue is very easy. He is a brave man himself and if he had been armed the Englishmen could never have arrested him. Even now, if he gets arms, no one will he able to keep him under confinement. If some one could carry arms to him, not only would he extricate himself, but his companions as well.”

“You are a mere girl,” said the Nawab with a smile, “you do not know the English, who will dare carry arms to him in the Englishmen’s boat?”

“With your leave I will go myself,” softly muttered Shaibalini with down-cast looks.

The Nawab burst out into a loud laugh. At the sound of the laugh Shaibalini contracted her eyebrows and said, “My Lord! If I do not succeed, I shall die; no one will be the worse for it. But if I do succeed, then the object of both will have been gained.”

The frowning beauty of Shaibalini’s face convinced the Nawab that she was not an ordinary woman. “Let her die,” he said to himself, “if she will. What is that to me? If she succeeds, well and good; if not, Mahammad Taqui will finish the business at Murshidabad.” Then aloud he asked Shaibalini, “Will you go alone ? ”

“I am a woman, I cannot go alone. If you are so kind, then give me a serving-maid and a guard to accompany me.”