Page:Nil Durpan.djvu/49

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The Godown of Begunbari Factory

TORAPA and four other Ryots sitting

Torapa.   Why do they not kill me at once? I can never show myself ungrateful. That eldest Babu, who has preserved my caste; he, through whose influence I am living here; he, who by reserving my plough and the cows, is preserving my life, shall I by giving false evidence, throw the father of that Babu into prison? I can never do that; I would rather give my life.

First Ryot.   Before sticks there can be no words; the stroke of Shamchand is a very terrible thrust. Have we a film on our eyes; did we not serve our eldest Babu? Are we devoid of all sense of shame? And has not our eldest Babu given us salt to eat?[1] But, then, what can we do? If we do not give evidence they will never keep us as we are. Wood Saheb stood upon my breast and blood began to fall drop by drop. And the feet of the filth-eater were, as it were, the hoofs of the ox.

Second Royt.   Thrusting in the nails; don't you know the nails which are stuck under the shoes worn by the Sahebs?

Torapa.   (Grinding his teeth with anger) Why do you speak of the nails? My heart is bursting with having seen this blood. What do I say? If I can once get him in the Vataramari field, with one slap I can raise him in the air; and at once put a stop to all his "gad dams" and other words of chastisement.

Third Ryot.   I am only a hireling, and work on commission. It won't cut ice if I say that I refused to take indigo advance under the influence of the Babus. Why was I then confined in the godown? I thought that serving under him at this time, I shall be able to make a good collection and shall be able to invite my friends, on the occasion of my wife's com-

  1. And has......salt to eat?: i. e. And has not......given us food? In India the giver of bread is described as the giver of salt:—Ed.