Krishnakanta's Will (Chatterjee, Roy)/Part 2/Chapter 9

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KRISHNAKANTA'S WILL

By Bankim Chandra Chatterjee.

(All rights reserved)

CHAPTER IX.

ON reaching his house Gobindalal strictly forbade the servants to go upstairs.

He led Rohini up the stairs, her hand firmly held in his, took her into his bedroom and closed the door. Then settling himself on a chair at his desk he bade her stand before him.

She obeyed.

"Rohini," said Gobindalal, surveying her with a gaze under which she quailed, for in his eyes there was an unnatural glow showing the rage and tumult which convulsed his heart.

There was a pause. He pressed his hand on his fevered brow as if to collect himself.

"Rohini," he said again, "what do you think of me? Am I not a fool, the greatest fool that the world has ever seen?"

She was silent. She dared not utter a word and hung down her head.

"Yes," he continued, "the greatest fool that the world has ever seen! I have sacrificed everything for you. My wife, poor artless creature—I have made her life miserable, I have blighted her happiness. With her I was happy as never a husband was happy with his wife. When I left her to go and live with you it broke her heart. I disregarded her tears and entreaties. The blow it gave to her heart—oh, it was a severe blow, severer than one can imagine."

He paused tor a moment, and then went on, speaking more to himself than to her: "Poor innocent girl! I have robbed her of her peace and happiness, I have given her a heart-ache for life. And what are you, Rohini, that I should have given up all that I most valued on earth to go and become your slave!—your slave! What a fool I was to have yielded to the witchery of your fair face!"

He suddenly rose, and carried away by rage, grief and remorse kicked her down.

"Get up, woman," he growled, resuming his seat.

She obeyed tremblingly. She sobbed, but he cared not.

"Stand where you are," he said. "You wished to die once. You attempted to commit suicide by drowning. Do you dare again to die?"

"Death will be welcome to me," she said in a piteous wailing tone of voice, "after such treatment as I have received at your hands."

"Then stand still."

Gobindalal opened his desk and took out his pistol. It was loaded as it often used to be. Presenting it before her he said, "This is loaded, and I will give you what you say will be welcome to you."

She had once wished to die when she had her grief; but now her love of life was as strong in her as in any one. She quaked with fear to see the loaded pistol. She had a presentiment that her hour was come. "Do not kill me," she appealed, "oh, do not for your sake, for mine. Spare my life, do, and I will leave the house this instant never to show you my face again."

Gobindalal was deaf to her entreaties. His blood was up. He had no pity. He raised the pistol and took aim at her forehead. She uttered a terrified scream. The next moment she fell. There was a deep gash in her forehead, from which the blood gushed.

The servants heard the report and were alarmed. At first they did not dare to go upstairs, but when they did after a while, they stood aghast at the sight of their mistress lying in a pool of blood. The room was vacant. A pistol lay on the floor. The master was gone.