And she held out towards him, in the lotus of her hand, a tiny flower, in colour like an atom of the concentrated essence of the sky. And as Aja looked at it, there came from it a stream of a sharp and biting scent, that rushed into his soul, coming laden as it were with reminiscence and suggestions of the past; so that he said to himself: Ha! of what does this remind me, and where is it that I smelled its almost intolerable sweet before? And suddenly, the little hut rushed into his mind, and he exclaimed: It is the very smell of the creeper on its roof. And instantly, a feeling of amazement that almost overcame him, mingled with terror, crept like a shudder over his limbs, and his hair stood on end. And he looked at Natabhrukuti, who was watching him intently, and said, hoarsely: Who art thou, thou strange beauty, and what dost thou want of me? And what is the meaning of these inexplicable mysteries, before which I feel as if my reason were deserting me, and I were about to faint again?
Then she laughed, and said: Fair boy, I am only that bitter-sweet, a woman: and I want no more than what every woman wants, the man she loves, and that is thou. Aye! dost thou ask me, who and what I am? Listen then, and I will tell thee. I am a bee, which not like other bees, roams roving to flower after flower, but confines itself exclusively to one. I am a breeze, which not like other breezes blows fickle and inconstant now hither and now thither, but is fixed and ever steady, coming straight from Malaya laden with the sandal of affection to lay it at thy feet. I am only the echo of a voice which is thyself, the shadow of a substance and the reflection of a sun. I am like the other half of the god that carries the moon upon his head, the twin, the duplicate and counterpart of a deity who is thou, I am Rati, rejoicing to find again the body of her husband, and thou art Love himself returned to life whom I have found. I am an essence of the ocean, but unlike it, I hold within my heart not many pearls, but only one, which is thyself. I am a wick, consuming in thy flame, and like the music of a lute, I am a thing wholly compounded of melodies and tones, whose mood and being are dependent on the player, who is thou. Art thou sad? then I am also: art thou joyous? so am I: my soul is tossed about, and hangs on thy smiling or thy sighing, as a criminal depends on the sentence of the judge. And like a crystal, I am colourless without thee, but ready on the instant to assume every tinge of the colour of thyself. Cast thy eyes upon me, and thou shalt see as in a glass thy every mood painted on the surface of my face. Ah! dost thou ask me what I am? Alas! I am a target for the poisoned arrows which Love shoots at me in the form of thy beauty greater than his own. And I am like a bare and withered, leafless and frost-bitten tree, which has suddenly shot up into blossom at the coming of spring in thy form. But as for thee, why, O why dost thou regard me that live for only thee as if I were a deadly snake, and thou a startled deer? In vain, in vain, dost thou endeavour to repel me, for I will not be repelled. I will melt thy cold ice in thy despite, by the fire of my affection, and drown thee in its flood, and sweep thee away from the rocks of thy resistance till thou art lost for ever in its dark and pearly depths.