Page:The Home and the World.djvu/140

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VI
139
NIKHIL'S STORY

pected you of weakness. I now see that though you two do not rhyme, your rhythm is the same.'

'Fate seems bent on writing Paradise Lost in blank verse, in my case, and so has no use for a rhyming friend!' I remarked, pursuing his conceit.

'But what of Panchu?' resumed my master.

'You say Harish Kundu wants to eject him from his ancestral holding. Supposing I buy it up and then keep him on as my tenant?'

'And his fine?'

'How can the zamindar realize that if he becomes my tenant?'

'His burnt bale of cloth?'

'I will procure him another. I should like to see anyone interfering with a tenant of mine, for trading as he pleases!'

'I am afraid, sir,' interposed Panchu despondently, 'while you big folk are doing the fighting, the police and the law vultures will merrily gather round, and the crowd will enjoy the fun, but when it comes to getting killed, it will be the turn of only poor me!'

'Why, what harm can come to you?'

'They will burn down my house, sir, children and all!'

'Very well, I will take charge of your children,' said my master. 'You may go on with any trade you like. They shan't touch you.'

That very day I bought up Panchu's holding and

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