SCENE.—The Garden of the Hermitage.
Enter PRIYAMVADA and ANASUYA in the act of gathering flowers_.
Although, dear Priyamvada, it rejoices my heart to think that [S’]akoontala has been happily united to a husband in every respect worthy of her, by the form of marriage prevalent among Indra’s celestial musicians, nevertheless, I cannot help feeling somewhat uneasy in my mind.
You know that the pious King was gratefully dismissed by the hermits on the successful termination of their sacrificial rites. He has now returned to his capital, leaving [S’]akoontala under our care; and it may be doubted whether, in the society of his royal consorts, he will not forget all that has taken place in this hermitage of ours.
On that score be at ease. Persons of his noble nature are not so destitute of all honourable feeling. I confess, however, that there is one point about which I am rather anxious. What, think you, will Father Kanwa say when he hears what has occurred?
In my opinion, he will approve the marriage.
What makes you think so?
From the first, it was always his fixed purpose to bestow the maiden on a husband worthy of her; and since heaven has given her such a husband, his wishes have been realized without any trouble to himself.
PRIYAMVADA. [Looking at the flower-basket.
We have gathered flowers enough for the sacred offering,
Well, then, let us now gather more, that we may have wherewith to propitiate the guardian-deity of our dear [S’]akoontala.
By all means.
[They continue gathering.
A VOICE BEHIND THE SCENES.
Ho there! See you not that I am here!
That must be the voice of a guest announcing his arrival.
Surely, [S’]akoontala is not absent from the cottage.
Her heart at least is absent, I fear.
Come along, come along; we have gathered flowers
[They move away.
THE SAME VOICE BEHIND THE SCENES.
Woe to thee, maiden, for daring to slight a guest like me!
Shall I stand here unwelcomed—even I,
A very mine of penitential merit,
Worthy of all respect? Shalt thou, rash maid,
Thus set at nought the ever sacred ties
Of hospitality? and fix thy thoughts
Upon the cherished object of thy love,
While I am present? Thus I curse thee, then—
He, even he of whom thou thinkest, he
Shall think no more of thee; nor in his heart
Retain thine image. Vainly shalt thou strive
To waken his remembrance of the past;
He shall disown thee, even as the sot,
Roused from his midnight drunkenness, denies
The words he uttered in his revellings.