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34
CH.
THE HOME AND THE WORLD

'My horoscope tells me I am to die early. None of my forefathers have survived their thirtieth year. I am now twenty-seven.'

He knew this would go home. This time there must have been a shade of concern in my low voice as I said: 'The blessings of the whole country are sure to avert the evil influence of the stars.'

'Then the blessings of the country must be voiced by its goddess. This is the reason for my anxiety that you should return, so that my talisman may begin to work from today.'

Sandip Babu had such a way of taking things by storm that I got no opportunity of resenting what I never should have permitted in another.

'So,' he concluded with a laugh, 'I am going to hold this husband of yours as a hostage till you come back.'

As I was coming away, he exclaimed: 'May I trouble you for a trifle?'

I started and turned round.

'Don't be alarmed,' he said. 'It's merely a glass of water. You might have noticed that I did not drink any water with my dinner. I take it a little later.'

Upon this I had to make a show of interest and ask him the reason. He began to give the history of his dyspepsia. I was told how he had been a martyr to it for seven months, and how, after the usual course of nuisances, which included different allopathic and homoeopathic misadventures, he had

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