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From the Asiatic Journal.
THE CHIEFTAIN'S DAUGHTER ; A TALE OF | of Kaniya. She was very young, and seem
ed as if animated by the peculiar happiness RAJPOOTANA.
known only to the young
for a soft MRS. POSTANS.
smile was on her lip, and a bright light in her eye, and her cheek had the freshness of a
new-blown flower ere the noontide heat or It was a shrine of Kaniya, that form of the evening shower has touched its beauty; the Indian Apollo which, the sun-god having while every line of her form, as she gently taken it while mirth and music formed his bent, sometimes to raise a blossom that had sole pursuits, finds especial favor with the fallen on the marble pavement, sometimes to Hindoo maidens, who, from their lyric-songs, note the effect of her labor, proved that the have gleaned some of the romance and beautiful Komari acknowledged no tutoress poetry which hang about the legends of their of grace but the nature that she worshipped, compassionate and pastoral deity.
and while the feathered songsters of the grove The fane itself, too, was very graceful, instructed her to imitate their sweetest meland well calculated to excite admiration odies, her elastic step and undulating moveamong the radiant Krishna's worshippers, ments owed nothing of their charm to art. being of pure white marble, and in its orna- The lady thus stood alone in Kaniya's fane ments free from any of those grotesque de-entwining her white and amber-colored formities frequent on the temples of the East, wreath, while the perfume of the scattered while the scene in which it stood possess-flowers surrounded her like incense. Her ed that quiet sylvan beauty, ever supposed attire was simple, and her ornaments tasteful, to be the aspect of nature beloved by the rather than gorgeous or encumbering. It youthful deity. Rich groves of tamarind might have been ditficult, therefore, to have and peepul trees sheltered the temple from guessed her rank, but that through the distant the noontide blaze, while a glittering stream trees might be seen camels richly caparisonnow reflected their wavering shadows, and ed, with horsemen, palankeens, and a goodly agina crept tremblingly away among the dens- train of picturesquely-attired followers, such est foliage, there only to be traced by its quiet as wait only on the princes of that land : but murmurings against the shining pebbles ortan- at Kaniya's shrine, the lady Komari needed gling flowers that seemed to oppose its course. no protection, nor did she even seek any comBounding the sweet vale that I have thus en-panion, but him who now approached, and deavored to describe was a chain of rocky for whom apparently she lingered there. hills, tinged with the rosy hues of evening The stranger was also young, and attired light
, which threw into strong relief the out- in priestly robes; but, as the quick ear of the lines of many a fortress, such as were neces- maiden caught the sound of his step from besary to protect the Rajpoot princes and their hind the altar, she turned, and cast her arms followers at a period in their history when tenderly around him. dissension wa common, ambition great, and
“Ah! my bro
er,” she excla ed, “chide even the darkest crimes were regarded as ve- me not that I sought thee thus at Kaniya's nial when the object to be gained was consid- shrine; soon shall we be parted, and well you ered worth the desperate game the chieftains know how in the retirement of the rawula played for. The horrors induced, however, (harem), I long for the sweet air and bright by this aggressive system, whatever shape they world around me, and how doubly sweet do may have taken, were confined to the open both become, Jowanda, when enjoyed with country, or to the harems and dungeons of those we love." the forts, for to the grove of Kaniya they never Kaniya's priest smiled fondly on the speakcould penetrate. Affording the right of sanc. er, but, as he replied, there was an earnestness tuary, no blood could there be shed, no sacri- in bis manner, scarcely warranted, perhaps, fice be offered, but that of flowers and in- by what had passed. Dear Komari! it is cense; for the pastoral god of India, delight- strange that I, thy brother only by one parent, ing in smiles and melody, suffers neither cru- and she not of the royal race, should yet so elty nor austerity to approach his shrine.
nearly resemble thee in taste as 'tis said we do Perhaps it was this attractive character of in feature. For, though I were offered forthe sun-god's fane which had now led hither tresses and lands, power and influence, as the one of the fairest of his votaries; or there legitimate son of my honored father, I would may have been another yet more pressing far rather hear the minars chattering among reason, which the progress of my tale may the boughs of yonder grove, than the wisest show; but at the time I would describe, a counsellors in his highness's durbar, and the lovely Hindu girl, weaving a wreath of mo- sweet cooing of the wood-doves to the clash of gree and chumpa blossoms, stood by the altar arms that could gain for me a throne. But tell
me, dear Komari, is it true, that our father | banks of the blue Yamuna; stay but a while, has entertained the suit of the young rajah of and I will bring it thee with speed; the Jeitpoor, and that the prince even now is en- servants are well entertained, and will not camped near the city, about to claim you as note thy absence.” his bride; and are you content, my sister, A moment had scarce elapsed, after the that this should be ?"
departure of the priest, when a rustling sound For a moment, a bright blush spread over was heard among the trees around the fane, the fair brow of the beautiful Komari; but, and a warrior, fully armed, and of most as it again fainted to the tender tint whose princely bearing, sprang from his charger, native hue ever lingered on her cheek, the and, rapidly ascending the marble steps, maiden rested one hand upon her brother's stood before the maiden. Unused to the prearm, and, still holding the mogree-wreath sence of men, unless that of her immediate loosely in the other, she fixed her bright eye relatives, Komari started at the coming of the on the distant grove, and softly answered, stranger, and, looking anxiously around her, “ Yes, Jowanda, I am content; for 'tis my blushed deeply, seeming as if about to fly ; noble father's wish, and this surely is enough. but again she raised her eyes, and that which Think what love his was, my brother, who, in met her gaze gave promise rather of security direct opposition to our Rajpoot laws, which than cause for fear. The stranger was young command to the tomb the infant daughters and eminently handsome; slight in figure, of our noble houses, reared me with tender yet firmly knit, as if trained to athletic excare to look abroad upon the sweet earth, to ercises from his youth; and although his eyes note its beauties, to feel its truth, and to be were now beaming with the gentlest feelings, loved by all I love. Is not my life due to one well versed in the expressions of the huhim who thus has saved me, and is not all obe- man countenance would have noted, that there dience but poor payment for such a debt ?" was that in their depths which times might “ You are good as you are fair, sweet sister,” animate with a beld defiance, before which returned Jowanda, tenderly; “but tell me, feel even the bravest in the land would quail. you aught like love for your aflianced hus- Perhaps there is a sympathy between the band?" "Love!" returned the fair girl,turning gentleness of woman, seeking protection, her full dark eyes upon her brother's face: and that manly courage which is willing "oh! no. How is it possible to love that which and powerful to yield it; but certain it is, we know not? Theysay the prince is young that the maiden now felt little disposed to and noble, a warrior, and generous; but I can fly; and when the youth, in apologetic tone, love that only which from my childish years has told her that, wearied by the heat and tedium been ever with me; I love my mother, father, of a journey, he had sought Kaniya's shrine yourself, the companions of my sports; yes, and for rest and shelter, and craved her pardon, the bright flowers, with their fragrant breath, believing, as he said, that the retainers that bring with it sweet thoughts; the birds, grouped together in the grove were those of that seek to answer me so gratefully with the prince her father, whom he had once their harmony of speech; and even the twink- served with in the wars with Scindiah, the ling stars, so full of mystery and beauty, that maiden blushed and smiled, and readily forI could gaze on them for ever, dreading the gave him, when, as her brother's step was envious dawn that hides them from my view : heard returning, she suffered the stranger to -all these, my brother, love I as dearly as press his lip upon her hand, and reproached my life: but the rajah !-oh no, no! Jo-him not; neither did she betray him, for wanda, I do not love the rajah.”
when the priest returned, he found Komari “But yet," inquired Jowanda, anxiously, still weaving alone her fragrant wreath, and “you hate him not, sweet sister; you do not although the distances of the flowers were fear your marriage ?" Why should I hate no longer well preserved, and the circle had him, dear Jowanda ?" was the reply. They become an oblong, Jowanda did not note it, say the prince will love me, and the whole nor how coldly she received the talisman, world seems so full of goodness, that the nor how hurriedly she left him and sought her prince may be even more noble ihan all I can palankeen. As she did so, however, Komari imagine him. But give me now, my brother, glanced stealthily around, and her eye well the blessing I have come to seek, for I have noted a mounted warrior spurring towards the lingered here too long, and my people will bills, nor were her attendants slow to do the grow impatient.” “I will bestow on thee, same; but, as some pointed to the flying sweet sister,” replied the priest, a talisman horseman, a cry arose of “Look, look ! more powerful in guarding thee from harm you the prince? it is the Jeitpoor Rajah, on than even a brother's blessing. I have a lo- his famous Arab Suleiman." tus-flower, gathered by the sun-god on the Komari heard, and, casting herself back
in her palankeen, yielded to a dream of hap- at once your accepted claim to the hand of piness which, if the anticipation of secure the daughter of the Rana Umra, and retire and gratified love can give joy to the human with your followers from the province.” heart, made this fair girl's complete. " And by what right does Sangram Singh
demand this at my hands?" inquired the prince haughtily. "By that right," answered
the chelah, with a sneer curling bis lip, In a crimson tent, guarded on all sides by that all Rajpoot warriors acknowledge; the his feudal adherents, and patrolled by small power to enforce his will; but, as in this bands of mercenary soldiery, sat Prince Za- instance the king deigns to give you a reason lim, and before him, with haughty mien and for its exercise, he bids me say, that the hand angry brow, stood the chelah, or confidential of the Princess Komari was promised to his adviser of Sangram Singh, whose hosts, to predecessor ere her father dared pledge his
the extent of some five thousand men, had word to spare her infant life; and the king ** encamped but a few miles distant.
The adds, that if his claim is disregarded, he will chelah, or messenger of Sangram, was a pat- not only reduce yon fortress to the dust, but, tern of his class; ambitious and intriguing; abandoning the regal crimson of your tent, treacherous to those who trusted him, but he will cause you to fly before his face, and cringing to the dust before his master. As a every warrior of Jeitpoor shall fall upon our Pathan soldier of low origin, the favoritism swords." of a tyrant had raised him to the position he Prince Zalim, who had labored to restrain held, and as he now stood in his quilted robe his passion up to the moment when the mesof gold brocade, with a rich Cashmere shawl senger would pause, now started again from about his waist, and a jewelled fillet secur- his cushions, and fixing on the chelah a look ing his long glossy hair, there was a trucu- of withering scorn, exclaimed, Begone, lence in his bearing that would have better thou slave of an unworthy master! did I drag suited the lowest mercenary engaged upon thee over yonder plain at my horse's heels, a foray, than the favorite and adviser of a as would a Moslem noble, or command that Rajpoot noble.
thou shouldest be blown from our nearest gun, There had evidently been a pause in the thy punishment would be less than thy insoconversation between the Prince Zalim and lence deserves. But go, tell thy master that the accredited negotiator of Sangram Singh, Zalim Singh defies him, and will keep the and angry defiance marked the bearing of lustre of his honor bright; moreover, that he each; but at length the envoy, as if weary of will not strike a tent to pleasure him, until waiting for the occasion of that offence he marches into the city to meet his bride, which it had been his object to excite, inquir- and in that day, let Sangram look to it, that ed, resting as he did so on the jewelled pom- he oppose him not.” Then, turning to the mel of his sword, as if addressing his inferi- warriors who stood around, “ Escort,” said or, "The king my master waits for a reply, he, “in safety this loud-tongued slave to the and his messenger proposes to bear back camp of Sangram Singh, and, as you go, that which may be given him.”
command that the escort set forth at once The prince started, and gazed at the speak- with the marriage-gifts designed for the er, with flashing eyes, a flushed brow, and a rawula of the Rana Umra.” gesture of angry scorn as his grasp stole in- The tent was soon cleared, but the last voluntarily on the cross-handled creeze or warrior had scarcely disappeared from the dagger worn in his cummerbund; but he kanāt, when Ajit, the young and favorite brochecked his rising violence, and after a mother of Zalim, laid his hand upon the prince's ment's apparent stuggle, calmly replied, sleeve. Beware,” he said, my brother. "There is in thy words a tone of insolence Sangram is powerful and impetuous, in ill-keeping with thy office, and a manner hosts are numerous, and his wealth is unwell deserving chastisement; but it is thy mas- bounded. The Rana Umra is in fact his ter's arrogance, and not thine, that should rassal, and will not dare to refuse him his excite my anger; state, therefore, again, as alliance at any cost. Is it not better, then, briefly as thou canst, what are his demands.” to waive your claim, and return to Jeitpoor,
"The king my master,” replied the che-than to bathe this fair land in blood, and lah, twisting the long ends of his wiry mous- bring destruction on the Rana and his famtache, as he threw a quick and triumphant ily?” glance around, at which the swords of more “ Ajit," replied the prince, “think you than one of the adherents of Prince Zalim that, as a Rajpoot warrior, I could bear the were half-drawn from their scabbards, “the insolent scoffs of yonder chief, and not teach king my master demands that you withdraw him in return the temper of our steels? And
is Zalim Singh to suffer the pangs of morti- to some tender words addressed to her by fied expectation and of disappointed hopes, Komari, "you are about to leave the home while he is girt round with faithful nobles of thy youth for the harem of a stranger; yet and brave friends, eager to do him right, not a shade of grief attends the change. Thou simply because his enemies demand it? And wert our first-born, and, at my frantic prayer, again, Ajit: were I base enough for this and thy noble father, even against the usages of even more, I love the daughter of the Rana his house and the express laws of his tribe, Umra, and have sworn by Kaniya's shrine, spared thy infant life. Even now I seem to that the man lives not who shall tear her feel again the terror, the doubt, of that fearfrom my arms.” Prince Ajit smiled. “Nay, ful hour when the opium, already blended Zalim," he exclaimed, “this is mere folly; with nature's earliest draught, awaited but we Rajpoot suitors, whose lady-loves are the Rana's signal to close the sweet eyes so shaded from our eyes by the lattices of the lately opened to heaven's light; but, at rawula, if we love at all, must love the pro- length, the stern purpose of the Rajpoot chief duction of our own imaginations, a passion melted before the husband's tenderness, and easily managed, I should think; there are thou wert spared. But, alas! ere three hot few among the princes of this land who would seasons had passed away, the dread of scorn, not gladly seek the alliance of the Rajah of the fear of what might be thy fate, urged Jeitpoor; so 'tis but setting your fancy in again the sacrifice; but as thy father sat with another key, my brother, and the melody his bared sword across his knee, meditating produced will please as well. Fortune may the deed which he thought had become neceshave interfered in this matter to save you sary to save his honor, upon the death of the from a shrew, and as you follow as blindly as prince to whom thou wert betrothed, thou, she is said to lead, trust her, and take her sweet child, stole to his side, and, with a soft warnings.”
caress, smiled at and played with the glitter“You speak, wisely, Ajit, though some ing weapon intended for thy destruction. I what, perhaps, in jest ; nor is Zalim Singh had followed stealthily, vowed not to outlive wont to dream of beauty when he should be my babe; but I saw a tear fall upon the girding on his sword for war. We Rajpoots blade, and, sheathing his sword in haste, thy have no fabled houris, as the Moslems have, father blest and bade thee live." Komari to urge them on to deeds of blood ; but for listened, and as the Ranee paused, she raised the daughter of the Rana, it is no dream; I her streaming eyes towards her mother's, and have seen her, Ajit, and the memory of her cast herself upon her bosom. grace and beauty animated me like the war- From this seeming trance of tenderness, cry of our race. Urge me no more, then, for however, both were soon aroused by exclaI have sworn that Komari shall be my bride." mations of surprise from the startled slave
girls, who suddenly rose from the ground, in some alarm, as the Rana Umra advanced
into the apartment. The Ranee and her The rawula of the Rana Umra was rife daughter rose immediately to meet him; but with mirth and joy. The rich carpet in the the Baji Bhye, reading strange matters on apartment of the fair Komari was strewn with her husband's countenance, paused suddenly, the costly presents of her affianced husband, while the blood forsook her cheek and her and the slave-girls, who were gathered round lip trembled. The fair Komari, however, them, had expatiated for hours on their sur- saw only on her father's face the necessity passing beauties, nor were they yet wearied for counsel or consolation, and resting her of the theme. The pearls were, they de- hand upon his arm, she gazed tenderly on cided, the largest ever seen, the kinkaubs the his agitated countenance. At her touch, richest and most glittering, the shawls the however, the Rana started, with a recoiling softest of the Cashmere looms, the attar and gesture, putting aside her hand, and then he golaub panee (rose-water) unequalled in all gazed on her with the fascinated gaze of one Persia. Yet, while this display of female who endeavors to recall the memory of some gratification was at its height, with bright eyes olden tale, whose characters seem interwobeaming and sweet lips smiling delighted ven with the lineaments of one who may have approval of those gauds which, it is supposed, been an actor in the drama, and then, with a most surely win the hearts of women, the heavy sigh, such as are known only to the Princess Komari knelt at her mother's feet, remorseful and the guilty, the Rana passed and with her fair face bent upon the knee of on, and stood by the pile of precious stuffs. the Baji Bhye, remained forgetful of all but “Take hence these gauds," commanded her filial gratitude and approaching joy. he, addressing the trembling slave-girls in a
“My child,” replied the Ranee, in answer voice whose tone seemed strangely hoarse
and unnatural to the ear; “ Take them | eyes fell upon the ground, and a still more hence, and bear them to those who wait with- terrible pause ensued. The poor mother out. The marriage of the Princess Komari thought that any decision, even the most terwith the Jeitpoor Rajah is at an end, and his rible, so that it ended this agonizing suspense, servants and his camels must bear back the had been merciful; but she ceased so to marriage-gifts.”
think when the Rana fixed his fierce glance Komari heard no more; a crowd of busy upon her face, and hoarsely uttered, “Woimages rushed over the brain, leaving no dis- man! at thy prayer this girl was saved ;tinct impression; a film fell on her sight, saved, to work ruin upon her land, despair strange sounds seemed floating in the air, and destruction upon her family. The council and the maiden sunk, heartstricken and will decide her fate, but remember, whatever insensible, at her father's feet. The slave- that may be, I am no longer an erring, mis girls gathered round their mistress, and bore led father, but a Rajpoot noble, firm to deher from the apartment; and then it was fend his honor and his name !" that the Rana drew near his trembling wise, and told her of the claim advanced by Sangram Singh, and of the fearful feud between the princely suitors. “My power, my throne, Alas! alas! it was a land where mercy for my life,” he added, are all in the hands of hapless women found no place in the counSangram Singh. The Jeitpoor prince obsti-cils of her masters. The rival princes refusnately persists on his right by acceptance, ed to withdraw their claims, the Rana was and blood has been already spilled on every threatened with a war of extermination, and side. I am contemned by all my nobles; the one means alone remained by which to save curse of my disobedience to my country's himself from dishonor, and his country from laws is working my destruction, and I can destruction; and this dark path was chosen. even now see the sneer of the princes of Rajpootana on the downfall of the chief who saved his daughter's life, but to dye his land in blood, and lay it desolate."
The chief apartment of the rawula, so late As he spoke, the Rana's head drooped low the scene of joyous preparation, was now siopon his breast, and with arms folded across lent, and deserted by all but the hapless maidit, he seemed to abandon himself to despair. en who was so late its brightest ornament.
His miserable wife gazed on him long and It is true, that, from without, the sunbeams anxiously, trembling at the pause, yet finding still played among the fragrant blossoms that in herself no reason to advance in solace of hung about the lattices: the bulbuls still warthe agony both felt. After a while, however, bled their soft love-notes in the chumpa grove, with low-toned voice and deep emotion, she and nature smiled as gaily as she was wont gently murmured, “ Alas! alas ! unstable to do; but man's passions had marred all are all our hopes, as dew upon the lotus-buds, peace, all hope, all joy within, and desolaand unhappily, my lord, Komari loves this tion followed on his steps. Jeitpoor rajah. Yet still, doubt not, she well Upon a pile of cushions, her delicate robe of knows her duty as a Rajpoot maiden, and soft white muslin draped around her graceful never will she oppose thy will that she should form, and her face half-screened by the luxuwed the powerful Sangram Singh. Wait riant and loosened tresses of the dark hair but, my lord, until the first terrible surprise that fell in masses upon her shoulder, lay the is past, and all will yet be well ;-our coun- fair Komari, while, from time to time, a deep uy be restored to peace, your honor spared, but broken sigh burst from her lips, as if her our child made happy. Force will have com- effort to constrain it was still in vain. But pelled you to break your contract with Prince she grieved alone; no attached slaves minisZalim, and the same power will protect you tered to her wants, no devoted mother tended against the violence of his disappointment." the object of her fondest care, but where mirth
As the Ranee commenced speaking, the and tenderness so late had mingled their king raised his eyes and gazed on her so blithe music, the maiden lay in solitude, intently, that it seemed as if every word that trembling, tearful, and broken-hearted. This passed her lips had power to agitate the list- strange silence had become so hushed and so ener; and so indeed it was, for he watched unbroken, that the slightest sound startled to catch if it were but one word of hope, the the listener's ear, as it now seemed to act on shadow even of a thought that could bring a that of the poor Komari, who suddenly startreprieve to his intense despair; but yet it ing from her crouched and motionless posicame not, and when the Baji Bhye had end-tion encountered the sorrowful gaze of ed, her husband again sighed heavily, his Krishna's priest bent full upon her. With a