Let me hear it, venerable father.
This is it:—
Most puissant prince! we here present
One thou art bound to cherish and receive
As thine own wife; yea, even to enthrone
As thine own queen—worthy of equal love
With thine imperial consorts. So much, Sire,
We claim of thee as justice due to us,
In virtue of our holy character,
In virtue of thine honourable rank,
In virtue of the pure spontaneous love
That secretly grew up ’twixt thee and her,
Without consent or privity of us.
We ask no more—the rest we freely leave
To thy just feeling and to destiny.
A most suitable message! I will take care to deliver it correctly.
And, now, my child, a few words of advice for thee. We hermits, though we live secluded from the world are not ignorant of worldly matters.
No, indeed. Wise men are conversant with all subjects.
Listen, then, my daughter. When thou reachest thy husband’s palace, and art admitted into his family,
Honour thy betters; ever be respectful To those above thee; and, should others share Thy husband’s love, ne’er yield thyself a prey to jealousy; but ever be a friend, A loving friend, to those who rival thee In his affections. Should thy wedded lord Treat thee with harshness, thou most never be Harsh in return, but patient and submissive; Be to thy menials courteous, and to all Placed under thee, considerate and kind; Be never self-indulgent, but avoid Excess in pleasure; and, when fortune smiles, Be not puffed up. Thus to thy husband’s house Wilt thou a blessing prove, and not a curse.
What thinks Gautami of this advice?
An excellent compendium, truly, of every wife’s duties! Lay it well to heart, my daughter.
Come, my beloved child, one parting embrace for me and for thy companions, and then we leave thee.
My father, must Priyamvada and Anasuya really return
They are very dear to me.
Yes, my child; they, too, in good time, will be given in marriage to suitable husbands. It would not be proper for them to accompany thee to such a public place. But Gautami shall be thy companion.
[S’]AKOONTALA. [Embracing him.
Removed from thy bosom, my beloved father, like a young tendril of the sandal-tree torn from its home in the western mountains, how shall I be able to support life in a foreign soil?
Daughter, thy fears are groundless.