Allaha surrendered; and Umballa came forth. All this happened so quickly that not even a rumor of it reached the colonel’s bungalow till it was too late. They were to have left on the morrow. The king dead, only a few minor technicalities stood an the way of Ramabai and Pundita.
Bruce and Kathlyn were fencing one with the other, after the manner of lovers, when Winnie, her eyes wide with fright, burst in upon them with the news that Umballa, at the head of many soldiers, was approaching. The lovers rushed to the front of the bungalow in time to witness the colonel trying to prevent the intrusion of a priest.
“Patience, Sahib!” warned the priest.
The colonel, upon seeing Umballa, made an attempt to draw his revolver, but the soldiers prevented him from carrying into execution his wild impulse.
The priest explained what had happened. The Colonel Sahib, his friend Bruce Sahib, and his youngest daughter would be permitted to depart in peace; but Kathlyn Mem-sahib must wed Durga Ram.
When the dazed colonel produced the document which had been legally canceled, Umballa laughed and declared that he himself had forged that particular document, that the true one, which he held, was not legally destroyed.
Burning with the thought of revenge, of reprisal, how could Durga Ram know that he thus dug his own pit? Had he let them go he would have eventually been crowned, as surely as now his path led straight to the treadmill.
Ahmed alone escaped, because Umballa had in his triumph forgot him!
There is an old saying in Rajput that woman and the four winds were born at the same time, of the same mother: blew hot, blew cold, balmily, or tempestuously, from all points at once. Perhaps.
In the zenana of the royal palace there was a woman, tall, lithe, with a skin of ivory and roses and eyes as brown as the husk of a water chestnut. On her bare ankles were gem-incrusted anklets, on her arms bracelets of hammered gold, round her neck a rope of pearls and emeralds and rubies and sapphires. And still she was not happy.
From time to time her fingers strained at the roots of her glossy black hair and the whites of her great eyes glistened. She bit her lips to keep back the sobs crowding in her throat. She pressed her hands together so tightly that the little knuckles cracked.
“Ai, ai!” she wailed softly.
She paced the confines of her chamber with slow step, with fast step; or leaned against the wall, her face hidden in her arms; or pressed her hot cheeks against the cool marble of the lattice.
Human nature is made up of contraries. Why, when we have had the courage coolly to plan murder, or to aid or suggest it, why must we be troubled with remorse? More than this, why must we battle against the silly impulse to tell the first we meet what we have done? Remorse: what is it?