Page:Chandrashekhar (1905).djvu/17

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CHANDRASHEKHAR.


PART I.
THE WOMAN-SINNER.


CHAPTER I.
DALANI BEGUM.

THE ruler of the provinces of Bengal, Behar, and Orissa, Nawab Aliza Mir Kasim Khan, lived in the Fort of Monghyr. Inside the fort and within the harem, a particular spot was looking exceedingly charming. The first watch of the night had not yet been over. A soft thick carpet covered the variegated pavement of an apartment. Lights were burning from silver lamps fed with scented oil. The room was redolent of the perfume of sweet-smelling flowers. With her small head propped up against a king-cob pillow, a slight, girlish figure was reclining and composing herself to read the Gulistha. She was seventeen, but short and delicate as a child. While reading the Gulistha she occasionally sat up and looked round and talked to herself. Now she muttered, “What keeps him away so long, I wonder?” Then the next moment, “Why should he come? I am only one among a thousand slaves, why should he take the trouble of coming so far for me?” Presently she resumed her Gulistha. After reading a little again she cried, “Augh! I do not like