Page:Chandrashekhar (1905).djvu/101

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91
CHANDRASHEKHAR


“Now go on,” said Shaibalini. “I am ready to swear anything you ask me to. Oh! after how long, Protap?”

“Swear by me, or I die. What is this life worth? Who cares to carry the burden of this sinful existence! What greater happiness than to lay down the load of this life in such a moonlight on the bosom of this placid Ganges!”

The moon was smiling overhead.

“I swear by you," said Shaibalini. “What shall I say?”

“Swear; touch me and swear that you are responsible for my life and death, my weal and woe.”

“I swear by you—Whatever you should decide for me I would abide by during the rest of my life.”

Protap suggested a terrible promise. It was an extremely difficult promise for Shaibalini; it was extremely hard and its fulfilment was impossible; it meant practically her destruction. Shaibalini could not make the promise and said, “Protap, who in this world is so miserable as I?”

“Why, I myself.”

“You have got wealth, you have got power, fame, friends, and hope; you have got your Rupasi; what have I got, Protap?

“Nothing. Then let us both sink.”

Shaibalini pondered for a while, and in the result adverse waves were tossed up for the first time in the stream of her life! “What harm if I die?” she thought, “but why should Protap die for me?” Then aloud she said, “Come let us get up on the bank.”

Protap left the support of the log and sank. His hand lay yet enclasped in hers; she gave a jerk and Protap came up.