Durgesa Nandini/Book 2/Chapter 21

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The fatherless, forlorn girl is on her sick-bed, Jagat Singha is at her side. The day ? passes away, and the night. Again the day comes, and again passes away, and again comes the night. The glory of the Rajput race sits by the bed-side of Tilottama, and is engaged in tending her; he is incessantly assisting the bereaved, silent widow. Whether the suffering girl look on his face, and whether her countenance, (resembling the tender lotus weighed down by 'th?e dews o?f Heaven refined,') again sweeten with her former laugh, to ascertain this, Jagat Singha si?ts fastening h?is look on her face.

Where's the encampment? Where's the army? They broke up their encampment and are now in Patna. Where are Jagat Singha's own followers? They are expecting their master's return on the shores of the Darukeshwara river. Where's the master? He is reviving? with the 'eye-offending brine,' the tender floweret that had been dried up to the point of death by the fierce, cruel rays of the mid-day sun.

The floweret did revive. Love is the only magician in this world; in curing love-sickness, your only physician is Love himself. Who else can cure it?

As a lamp gradually brightens up by a fresh supply of oil, as by degrees the creeper shrivelled by the summer sun, again puts forth bud and blossom by the fresh showers of autumn, Tilottama began to recover in the company of Jagat Singha.

She attained strength to sit up on the couch. During the intervals when Bimala was out of sight, she opened her heart to the Prince and related many an incident. She told him many things; she confessed to many faults on the score of unjust surmises; she told of many unjust hopes which had arisen and died in her mind; she related many a fair dream which she had dreamt, waking or in sleep. One day she narrated the following dream, which she had dreamt, while lying insensible on her sick-bed.

She saw herself and Jagat Singha sporting with flowers, on a hill clad in the freshness of spring. She gathered flowers and laid them in heaps: she made two garlands, one of which she wore herself; the other she placed around Jagat Singha's neck. Happening to come in contact with the Prince's sword, his wreath was torn. "No more will I lay any garland on your neck," said Tilottama; "I will bind your feet with chains." Thereupon she made chains of flowors. She went to bind Jagat Singha's feet with the floral gyves, when he drew off a little; Tilottama hastened to catch him; he removed further: Tilottama ran after him; Jagat Singha began to descend the hill rapidly. In the way ran a slender rill. Jagat Singha crossed it by a leap; Tilottama being a woman could not cross it in that way. Hoping to cross it at the spot where the brook was the narrowest, she ran down the mountain beside it. Far from growing narrower, the waters grew broader as she advanced; by and bye it became almost a rivulet; and then a large river; Jagat Singha could no longer be seen. The banks were high, and frightfully uneven; walking was no longer possible. Further, parts of the bank near Tilottama gave way and fell into the water with thundering noises. Below whirled furiously a whirl-pool, fearful to look at. Tilottama tried to fly from the place, by re-ascending the hill; but the way was impracticable. Tilottama began to cry aloud. All of a sudden, the horrible shape of Katlu Khan came out from the grave and barred her way. Anon the garland of flowers was turned into a heavy chain of iron; the floral shackles escaped her hand, and all of a sudden became iron shackles round her feet; suddenly her ?body came to a stand-still, when Katlu Khan grasped her by the neck; and whirling her body, throw it into the torrent.

"Prince!" said Tilottama, when she had done, her eyes glistening with tears, "Prince! this is no idle dream. Perhaps the flowery chains which I strung for you, have really proved iron chains round my feet—the garland of flowers which I placed round your neck, you have cut off with your sword."

The Prince laughed; and taking out his sword from his side, and laying it at Tilottama's feet, said,

"Tilottama! here I resign my weapon to you. Pray, do you favor me with the garland once more, and I will with these hands, break the sword in twain."

Seeing Tilottama silent, the Prince said,

"Tilottama! I am not jesting."

Tilottama hung down her head in bashfulness.

Seated in another room, Abhiramswami was that evening reading a manuscript book in the light of the pradipa. The Prince came to him, and said in all humility,

"Sir, I have a request. Tilottama is now in a position to bear the fatigue of a journey. Why then should she undergo the privation of remaining in this deserted house? If to-morrow do not happen to be an in-auspicious day, take her to Garmandaran, Sir, I beseech you. And if you have no objection, do you make me the happiest of men, by giving your grand-daughter in marriage to a member of the house of Abnir."

Leaving his book, Abhiramswami started up and warmly embraced the Prince, utterly unconscious that he was, while so engaged, treading the sacred volume under his foot.

When the Prince came to Abhiramswami, guessing something, Bimala and Ashmani had softly followed in his wake; and from the outside had learnt all. On coming out, the Prince found that Bimala had suddenly changed her former manner. She was incessantly laughing, and tearing Ashmani's hair, and dealing her blows right and left. Taking no heed of the beating, Ashmani was learning to dance from Bimala. The Prince stole away quietly.