"You won't lose anything," he remarked, "by staying where you are.
And I only wish everyone would follow your example."
"What ground have you for saying so, I wonder?" remonstrated Sham Rao,
and a slight note of disappointment rang in his voice, when he saw
that the excursion, proposed and organized by himself, threatened
to come to nothing. "What harm could be done by it? I won't insist
any more that the `incarnation of gods' is a rare sight, and that
the Europeans hardly ever have an opportunity of witnessing it;
but, besides, the Kangalim in question is no ordinary woman. She
leads a holy life; she is a prophetess, and her blessing could
not prove harmful to any one. I insisted on this excursion out
of pure patriotism."
"Sahib, if your patriotism consists in displaying before foreigners
the worst of our plagues, then why did you not order all the lepers
of your district to assemble and parade before the eyes of our guests?
You are a patel, you have the power to do it."
How bitterly Narayan's voice sounded to our unaccustomed ears.
Usually he was so even-tempered, so indifferent to everything
belonging to the exterior world.
Fearing a quarrel between the Hindus, the colonel remarked, in a
conciliatory tone, that it was too late for us to reconsider our