Page:Chandrashekhar (1905).djvu/62

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Protap then moved away in the shadow of the barge and stood immersed in water up to the lips.

At the report of the musket the sepoys of the junk noisily shouted out, “what is up there?” All the other men in the boat were roused. Foster came out, musket in hand.

He began to look round on all sides. He saw that the Telinga sentry had vanished, and in the starlight he found his dead body floating on the water. His first thought was that the Nawab’s sepoys had hit the Telinga, but the next moment, he discovered a slight trail of smoke in the direction of the reed-thicket. He also found that the men of the other boat were running up to learn what the matter was. The stars were glimmering in the sky, lights were burning in the city, hundreds of large boats along the bank of the Ganges lay motionless in the dark like sleeping ogresses, and the ever-flowing Ganges ran past bubbling along. In that current the sentry’s corpse floated down. Foster saw all this in a trice.

Foster noticed a thin streak of smoke hovering on the copse; he raised the musket in his hand and began to take aim in that direction. He had been perfectly convinced that behind the thicket lay the lurking foe. He knew also that the enemy who had killed the sentry unseen might also kill him at that very moment. But Foster had come out to India after the battle of Plassey. That an Indian could dare aim at an Englishman, found no lodgment in his mind. Moreover, for an Englishman, death was preferable rather than be afraid of an Indian enemy. With this idea he took his stand there, and had just raised his musket, when out flashed a gun from the thicket. Again the crack of a firearm was heard, and struck in the head Foster fell into the current below like the