Page:Chandrashekhar (1905).djvu/21

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11
CHANDRASHEKHAR

Dalani mentally applauded the Lord of Bengal a hundred times, and aloud she said, “Lord of my life! what should I say in reply? But I have got one requestto make—don’t go to the war yourself.”

“In a matter like this, is it right for the Nawab of Bengal to listen to the advice of a woman, or is it proper for her to offer any such advice?”

Dalani felt abashed and sorry, and said, “I crave your pardon, I have spoken thoughtlessly. A woman’s mind is not easily allayed, therefore I have said these things. But I have got another request.”

“What is it?”

“Will you take me to the war with you?”

“Why, are you going to fight? Tell me I will dismiss Gurgan Khan and appoint you instead.”

Dalani was again covered with shame and remained tongue—tied. “Why do you wish to go?” asked Mir Kasim affectionately.

“Because I want to keep with you.”

Mir Kasim did not consent; he would never consent to it.

“My liege!” said Dalani with a soft smile, “you can predict the future. Tell me where I shall be during the war."

“In that case let me have the standish,” said Mir Kasim smiling.

A serving-maid brought a golden standish at Dalani‘s bidding.

Mir Kasim had learnt astrology from the Hindus. Following his teachings he cast figures and began to calculate. After a while he flung the paper at a distance, and sat morose. “What do you find?” asked Dalani.

“What I find,” answered Mir Kasim, “is very strange. You had better not hear it.”