Page:Malabari, Behramji M. - Gujarat and the Gujaratis (1882).djvu/287

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271
THE RÁMÁYAN.

And Sitá? Mistress of a thousand womanly graces—the fond faithful wife, the tender being twice transplanted by relentless fate from the bosom where she had learnt but yesterday to nestle so close—the suspected, repudiated wife, scorned of the foul-mouthed rabble, left alone by the husband in the trackless desert to the mercy of the fierce beasts and the fierce elements, leading an aimless, hopeless life; now exhausted by reason of her loneliness, now cheered by the thought of her precious burden, the pledge of her short-lived union—whose unselfish soul rises superior to all personal discomforts, and who, in the midst of insupportable misery, even in the agonies of travail, has no thought but of her Ráma, "the beloved of my heart, my true, my tender, my eternal lover, who has deserted me because he thought fit!"

Happy the nation who can claim Ráma and Sitá, for their ideal. Blessed the hearth at which are offered tributes of national homage to this peerless pair, when the simple children of toil—the rough old artisan, his matter-of-fact dame, and the sweet, simple, romantic girl—mingle honest tears as the family priest recites some favourite passage out of the sacred volume!