Tales of Bengal eBook

Surendranath Banerjea
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 145 pages of information about Tales of Bengal.
no longer.  They had just told her that she was to be excommunicated for intriguing with an infidel.  So she had got some yellow arsenic from the domes (low-caste leather-dressers) and swallowed several tolas weight of the poison in milk.  The other women were thunderstruck.  They sat down beside her and mingled their lamentations until Siraji’s sufferings ended for ever.  They afterwards agreed to say nothing about the cause of her death for fear of the police.  But Ram Harak had come to them privately and frightened them into promising to tell the whole truth, by pointing out the awful consequences of an innocent man’s conviction.  Their evidence was not shaken by the Government Pleader’s cross-examination, and it was corroborated by a dome, who swore that Siraji had got some arsenic from him a few days before her death, on the pretext that it was wanted in order to poison some troublesome village dogs.  After consulting with the jury for a few minutes, the judge informed Nalini that his client was acquitted, and Debendra Babu left the Court, as the newspapers say, “without a stain on his character”.  Seeing Ram Harak standing near the door with folded hands, he clasped the good old man to his bosom, with many protestations of gratitude, and begged him to forgive the injustice with which he had been treated.

When Ram Harak found himself alone with his master at the close of this exciting day, he repeated the vile insinuations which Hiramani had made regarding the daughter’s character.  Debendra Babu was highly indignant and vowed that the scandal-monger should never cross his threshold again.  He then implored Ram Harak to trace his son-in-law, authorising him to offer any reparation he might ask.  The old man smiled, and left the house, but returned a quarter of an hour later with a Sanyasi (religious mendicant) who revealed himself as the missing Pulin.  Debendra Babu received him with warm embraces and many entreaties for pardon; while Pulin said modestly that he alone was to blame, for he ought not to have believed the aspersions cast on his wife by Hiramani, which led him to quit the house in disgust.  He added that Ram Harak had found him telling his beads near a temple, and persuaded him to wait close at hand until he had opened Debendra Babu’s eyes.

Meanwhile the whole house echoed with songs and laughter.  Debendra Babu rewarded Ram Harak’s fidelity with a grant of rent-free land, and publicly placed a magnificent turban on his head.  He resolved to celebrate his own escape from jail by feasting the neighbours.  The entire arrangements were left in the hands of the two Basus, who managed matters so admirably that every one was more than satisfied and Debendra Babu’s fame was spread far and wide.  When things resumed their normal aspect, he held a confab with the brothers as to the punishment which should be meted out to Hiramani, and it was unanimously resolved to send her to Coventry.  They, therefore, forbade the villagers to admit her into their houses, and the shopkeepers to supply her wants.  Hiramani soon found Kadampur too hot to hold her and took her departure for ever, to every one’s intense relief.

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Project Gutenberg
Tales of Bengal from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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