Kamal, affecting anger, said, "I will speak in that way if I wish!" Srish, in the same tone, replied, "And I shall speak as I choose!" Then a playful scuffle ensued; Kamal pretended to strike her husband, who in return pulled down her hair; whereupon she threw away his ink. Then they exchanged angry kisses.
Then Srish asked, "Must you really go to Govindpur? What am I to do alone?" "Do you think I can go alone?" answered his wife. "We must both go. Arrange matters in the morning when you go to business, and come home quickly. If you are long, Satish and I will sit crying for you." "I cannot go," replied Srish. "This is the season for buying linseed. You must go without me."
Then Srish said: "Surja Mukhi did not endure this suffering many days. A wealthy Brahman, travelling with his family, had to come as far as Calcutta by boat, on his way to Benares. One day as Surja Mukhi was lying under a tree on the river's bank, the Brahman family came there to cook.
The hearers shook their heads, saying, "He is under petticoat government!" which so delighted Srish Chandra that he called to his servant, "Prepare dinner; these gentlemen will dine with me to-day." It was as though a flower had bloomed in the family house at Govindpur. The sight of Kamal Mani's smiling face dried the tears in the eyes of Surja Mukhi.
Except the Creator, who could enter into that child's heart and discern the cause of his crying? The unfortunate Srish Chandra, left to his own resources, took some food to Nagendra, who said: "I do not want food. Sit down, I have much to say to you; for that I came hither." He then related all that he had heard from Ram Kristo Rai, and detailed his designs for the future.
The Brahmachari took me to a spot six miles from here, placed me in the house of a Brahmin to attend on his daughter, and then went in search of you: first to Calcutta, where he had an interview with Srish Chandra, from whom he heard that you were gone to Madhupur. At that place he learned that on the day we left Haro Mani's house it was burned, and Haro Mani in it.
"Some days fasting, some days begging are you mad?" with these words Srish Chandra threatened Nagendra, who had clutched at his own throat as though to strangle himself, saying "If I die, shall I meet Surja Mukhi?" Srish Chandra held the hands of Nagendra, who then desired him to continue his narrative. "If you will not listen calmly, I will tell you no more," said Srish.
Kamal Mani understood the wretchedness of Surja Mukhi; Surja Mukhi comprehended that Kamal appreciated her suffering. They checked their sobs and ceased to weep. Surja Mukhi, setting her own affairs on one side, spoke of others, desired that Satish Babu should be brought, and talked to him. With Kamal she spoke long of Srish Chandra and of Satish, of the education of Satish and of his marriage.
Kamal Mani, approaching her husband, brought the end of her sari round her neck, threw herself down, bending her forehead to the floor, and, folding her hands, said, "I pay my devotions to you, O great king." Just before this time, a play had been performed in the house, from whence she borrowed this inflated speech. Srish said, laughing, "Have the cucumbers been stolen again?"
"It is very unreasonable in Surja Mukhi if she wants her husband's brother-in-law only that he may look after the luggage. I can find some one else to perform that office for a couple of days." Kamal Mani was angry; she frowned, mocked at Srish Chandra, and, snatching the paper on which he was writing out of his hand, tore it to pieces. Srish Chandra, smiling, said, "It serves you right."