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150
CH.
THE HOME AND THE WORLD

rubbish, was holed and set adrift. It sank in mid-stream.

Mirjan understood the whole thing. He came to me in tears to beg for mercy. 'I was wrong, sir—' he began.

'What makes you realize that all of a sudden?' I sneered.

He made no direct reply. 'The boat was worth Rs. 2000,' he said. 'I now see my mistake, and if excused this time I will never...' with which he threw himself at my feet.

I asked him to come ten days later. If only we could pay him that Rs. 2000 at once, we could buy him up body and soul. This is just the sort of man who could render us immense service, if won over. We shall never be able to make any headway unless we can lay our hands on plenty of money.

As soon as Bimala came into the sitting-room, in the evening, I said as I rose up to receive her: 'Queen! Everything is ready, success is at hand, but we must have money.'

'Money? How much money?'

'Not so very much, but by hook or by crook we must have it!'

'But how much?'

'A mere fifty thousand rupees will do for the present.'

Bimala blenched inwardly at the figure, but tried not to show it. How could she again admit defeat?

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