Quick! quick! Anasuya! come and assist in the joyful preparations for [S’]akoontala’s departure to her husband’s palace.
My dear girl, what can you mean?
Listen, now, and I will tell you all about it. I went just now to [S’]akoontala, to inquire whether she had slept comfortably—
Well, well; go on.
She was sitting with her face bowed down to the very ground with shame, when Father Kanwa entered, and, embracing her, of his own accord offered her his congratulations. ’I give thee joy, my child,’ he said, ’we have had an auspicious omen. The priest who offered the oblation dropped it into the very centre of the sacred fire , though thick smoke obstructed his vision. Henceforth thou wilt cease to be an object of compassion. This very day I purpose sending thee, under the charge of certain trusty hermits, to the King’s palace; and shall deliver thee into the hands of thy husband, as I would commit knowledge to the keeping of a wise and faithful student.’
Who, then, informed the holy father of what passed in his absence?
As he was entering the sanctuary of the consecrated fire, an invisible being chanted a verse in celestial strains.
ANASUYA. [With astonishment.
Indeed! pray repeat it.
PRIYAMVADA. [Repeating the verse.
Glows in thy daughter King Dushyanta’s
As in the sacred tree the mystic fire ;
Let worlds rejoice to hear the welcome story,
And may the son immortalize the sire.
ANASUYA. [Embracing PRIYAMVADA.
Oh, my dear Priyamvada, what delightful news! I am pleased beyond measure; yet when I think that we are to lose our dear [S’]akoontala this very day, a feeling of melancholy mingles with my joy.
We shall find means of consoling ourselves after her
Let the dear creature only be made happy at any cost.
Yes, yes, Priyamvada, it shall be so; and now to prepare the bridal array. I have always looked forward to this occasion, and some time since, I deposited a beautiful garland of Ke[S’]ara flowers in a cocoa-nut box, and suspended it on a bough of yonder mango-tree. Be good enough to stretch out your hand and take it down, while I compound unguents and perfumes with this consecrated paste and these blades of sacred grass.
[Exit ANASUYA. PRIYAMVADA takes down the flowers.
A VOICE BEHIND THE SCENES.
Gautami, bid [S’]arngarava and the others hold themselves in readiness to escort [S’]akoontala.