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"Should any reply, note him well, and forget not his answer, for ye may light upon my lord in your search. And lest he should mistrust that ye are sent by me, and may again reproach him, return without delay."
The Brahmans departed, and began their search. They traversed forests and plains, explored the cells of hermits, the hamlets of husbandmen, the streets of cities. Wherever men were assembled was heard the wail of Damayanti-" Return, gamester, return!"
The first Brahman that returned to Damayanti was the wise Parnada. "In the course of my wanderings," he said, "I found myself in the beautiful city of Ayodhya. I spake your words thrice in the ears of the multitude, but no one replied. The king himself was there in his chariot, the prosperous Rituparna. After the king had gone, and the crowd were dispersed the king's charioteer came to me. He was illshaped, like a man of the fourth caste, and his arms were short and deformed. His name was Vahuca. He saluted me courteously, and groaning in spirit spake words like these. Women are better than men, for in grief they possess their souls. Forsaken by their faithless lords they feel no anger. She feels no anger against her lord whose garment was stolen by the birds. He has lost his kingdom, and forsaken her; but she loves him still.""
"I love him still!" cried Damayanti, and slipping a purse of gold into the hands of the Brahman she sought her mother.
"Let not what we have heard be
known to my father; he has cares enough of his own. But call the wise Sudeva that I may speak with him. He brought me to you, mother; he shall bring my husband to me.'" Sudeva came.
"Go to Ayodhya, good Sudeva, and speak with Rituparna the king. Tell him that I hold my betrothal; say-'If thou wouldst win the princess Damayanti, speed, Rajah, speed! The time is reckoned, and when the sun rises she will choose a second lord.'"
"Vahuca!" said Rituparna, when the Brahman had delivered his message, "the princess Damayanti holds her betrothal in Vidarbha. I must go thither in a day."
It was an hundred yojannas!
“Can it be true," thought the wretched Nala, "that my wife will wed again, or is it but a woman's stratagem to bring me back? It may be I have wronged her so that she loves me no more. For my own sake I will obey the king and drive his chariot to Vidarbha. When I am there I can judge for myself." Then aloud to Rituparna : "You shall go, Rajah, in a day
He went to the royal stables and made a close inspection of the coursers, debating in his mind which to take. At last he picked out four that blended strength with fleetness; high in courage and blood, with broad nostrils and strong jaws. They were born in Sindhu, and were swift as wind. He harnessed them to the chariot, and the king sprang in it followed by Varshneya. Nala gathered up the reins and they were off. The coursers sprang through the air as if to unseat them. When Rituparna heard the rattle of the chariot wheels, and saw the science of Vahuca he was silent with wonder.
"Is this Matali the Charioteer of Heaven? is it skillful Salihotra who has taken a mortal body? or is it Nala, the wondrous tamer of steeds?" So thought the king as they left the city behind. "If it be not Nala then is Vahuca his equal. They are alike in age and science. But the deformity of Vahuca, his ill-shaped body and short arms-these confound me."
Over rivers, over mountains, through forests, over lakes, they shot like birds. The rushing of the chariot blew off the mantle of the king.
"Hold, an instant, and let Varshneya alight, and pick up my mantle.”
The Haunted King and the Loaded Dice.
"It is too late," said Nala: "it is now ten miles behind us!"
Wonderful!" said Rituparna. And coming in sight of a tall Vibhittak tree he resolved to show the charioteer his skill in numbers.
'How many leaves are there, VahuThere ca, on yonder tree, and how many fruit? How many of each have fallen ? are one hundred leaves in the grass, and only one fruit. There are fifty millions of leaves on those two branches, and fruits two thousand and ninety-five.”
Nala checked the steeds.
"It may be as thou sayest, O king, I will make but it is invisible to me. sure of it by counting. Until I bave cannot numbered the leaves and fruit know whether it be true, or not. Let Varshneya hold the bridle of the steeds."
"We have no time to stay."
"Go, Evil One," said the generous monarch, and the demon disappeared in the Vibhittak tree, which stands to this day accursed. No eye save that of Nala saw the form of Kali, and no ear save his heard the voice. Varshneya and Rituparna saw a dark mist, and heard a mysterious wind; then they were off like darts.
"Either stay, or go. Varshneya can guide the steeds. The road is straight."
"If we reach Vidarbha before sunset I am content."
“The sun shall not set before you arrive," said Nala leaping from the chariot, and numbering the leaves and fruit. "It is even as thou sayest, O king! There are fifty millions of leaves on the two branches, and fruits two thousand and ninety-five. Thy power is marvelous, and had I anything to offer in exchange I would solicit the secret."
"I am skilled in numbers," said the king, when Nala had taken the reins again, "because I possess the science of dice."
When the setting sun touched the tinel on the walls saw the coming of domes and spires of Vidarbha, the senRituparna, and proclaimed it to Bhima. While the Rajah was thinking how to receive his guest with due pomp, Rituparna rode through the city gate, and up the broad street, which echoed the thunder of his chariot. The horses of Nala heard the echo of the chariot, and pawed and trampled as if their master were there. When Damayanti heard it her heart throbbed at the old familiar sound. The elephants in the stalls waved their lithe trunks, and the peacocks on the roof stretched their long necks, and clamored as at the sound of rain!
"If my lord will make me a master of the dice I will give him my skill in steeds. All that he has seen and more will I impart."
"Be it so," said Rituparna; and the
No sooner was Nala master of the
"Curse me not, Lord of men," sup-
"If Nala be not in that chariot," said Damayanti, "I will mount my bier, and be consumed by the golden fire." She ascended the palace turret from whence It stood in the she saw the chariot. middle court and held Rituparna, and his two charioteers, Varshneya and Vahuca. Vahuca caught the steeds by their bridles, and the Rajah descended from his seat and greeted King Bhima.
"Hail! and welcome: but wherefore comest thou?" asked the king; for he knew not that Damayanti had sent a herald to Rituparna.
"To salute my lord," answered the Rajah, with a ready tongue.
"Hum!" thought the king. “He would never ride an hundred yojannas But I for so small a matter as that. shall learn the real cause hereafter; so let me wait."
He feasted Rituparna grandly, and gave him a wing of the palace, in which to rest. "Rest after your long journey, Rajah. Rest in the arms of sleep!" Rituparna and Varshneya lay on their couches, and Vahuca sat on the shaft of the chariot.
Damayanti remained on the terrace. "The noise of the chariot was like that of Nala, but no Nala was with it. Can it be that Varshneya hath caught the trick of his lord, or has Rituparna obtained his magic science? But who
Kesenia went, but soon returned. "I have never seen or heard of his like; he must be a god! You know the second gateway, how low it is? When he passed through it he bowed not his head, as others do; the portal rose above him. After the King, your father, had feasted the Rajah, the golden vessels were brought to this man to cleanse. No water was given him he looked at them and they were full of water! When they were cleansed and he needed fire to dry them, none was given him. He plucked a handful of dry grass and held it towards the setting sun: it blazed on the instant! He handled the fire unharmed, and dried the vessels. Mixed with the grass were a few withered flowers: he molded the flowers with his hands, and they stood erect on their stems, and blossomed anew with the richest fragrance; I saw no more, but fled to thee."
gods; water and flowers from Varun, and the boon of fire from Agni.
She took her children, Indrasen, the noble boy, and Indrasena, the beautiful girl, and sent them to the charioteer. He wound his arms about them, and folded them to his breast: his heart run over with love and he wept. But seeing that Kesenia watched him, he dried his tears. They are so like my own children that I broke out in tears: but visit me no more, maiden, or men will suspect evil. Depart in peace!"
He kissed his children, and handed them back to Kesenia.
'Mother," said the princess, "we have watched Vahuca narrowly, and we suspect him to be my husband; his form alone makes me doubt. Have him called hither that I may satisfy myself. Tell my father, if thou wilt, that no man may accuse us of wrong."
She left the chamber, but returned in a moment with matted hair and pallid face, wrapt in the garment that she wore in the hut of reeds. It was severed as on that fatal night!
The charioteer shuddered as he saw
It must be Nala!" cried Damayanti, joyfully, remembering the gifts of the
Tell me, Vahuca, didst thou ever hear of an upright man who abandoned his wife at night in a forest? Who was he that forsook his wife? Who but Nala, the king of Nishadha! What offense had I committed that he fled, leaving me oppressed with sleep? I rejected the gods, and made him my husband. I was true and faithful to him, and I bore him children. I gave him my hand in the presence of gods and men. 'As long as my soul dwells in my body,' (such was the oath), 'so long am I thine! Why did my lord depart?"
The charioteer hid his face in his hands.
"It was not my fault that I lost my kingdom by the dice. It was the demon Kali who possessed me. It was he who dragged me from thee in the hut of reeds. But he was punished by thy curse and poisoned by the bite of the serpent. I became a hell to him, a hell that grew hotter and hotter. But he haunts me no more, Damayanti; the end of our sorrows is at hand. But how can a noble princess swerve from her lord and choose another husband, as thou dost, thou false one? The heralds go up and down the earth by the command of the
king. The daughter of Bhima is about to take a second husband! Fly to the wedding, Rajahs!'
"My lord, my lord, no heralds proclaim my betrothal. I did send the Brahman Sudeva to the court of Rituparna, but it was to draw thee hither. The words were for Nala alone, not for the Rajah. I knew that no man save Nala could reach Vidarbha in one day. This is the truth. I swear it, and touch thy feet. I have committed no evil against thee, not even in thought."
She called the wind to witness, and the life-giving sun and moon.
The wind answered from the air: "I have watched her day and night for three weary years. She hath not sinned, O, king, but hath kept the treasure of her virtue. Cast away your jealous scruples, and take her to your bosom!"
The sun and moon said nothing; but the sun lifted his disk from the west, and shot a fiery shaft in the eyes of the Rajah, while the moon sunk behind a cloud.
The Rajah drew from his robe the half of Damayanti's garment, and from that the celestial vests. He slipped his arms through them, and was restored to his proper form. He was no longer a man of the fourth caste, but a young and beautiful king. Damayanti shrieked and rushed to his arms, sobbing and laughing in a breath. Nor did their bliss end here; for Kesenia, guessing the result, entered with the royal children.
"Lay your head on my heart, dear wife, while the children lie in my
Great was the rejoicing in Vidarbha when it was known that the Rajah Nala was found. Triumphal arches were erected in the squares, festoons of flowers were hung from door to door, and the streets swarmed with soldiers and gaudy banners. When Rituparna knew that his charioteer Vahuca was Nala the king, he entreated pardon for any discourteous thing that he might have said or done.
"I was treated, O king, more like a brother than a servant. I dwelt as pleasantly with thee as in my own palace."
So said Nala, and the two kings made a league of friendship.
When they had sojourned a month in
Vidarbha, Nala and Damayanti bade king Bhima adieu, and started again to reclaim their kingdom. They rode in a splendid chariot, attended by sixteen elephants, fifty horsemen, and six hundred men on foot. The horses of Nala pawed and trampled; the echo of his chariot shook the earth. When the royal party reached Nishadha, they found the whole city waiting at the gate to receive them.
"I have wealth again, Pushkara," thundered the king, as he strode through the door of his palace. "Come and play."
"Dear brother!" said the false Pushkara.
"I risk all I have, even Damayanti. Stake the kingdom against her, and play for your life. He who wins a treasure must be prepared to lose it, or die. If you shrink from the game of dice, there is a game of swords. Rattle the dice, or stretch the bow in battle!"
"Thou hast treasure to play with me again. I thank thee, brother. Damayanti, too, is a part of the stake. I thank thee again. When I win the treasure, as I shall, she shall stand by my side and wait upon me."
"Talk no more, but throw the dice!" In a single throw Nala won back all that he had lost-his jewels, his horses and chariots, his treasures, his kingdom!
"The kingdom is mine again, Pushkara; all mine. It was not thee by whom it was won before, but the demon Dwapara embodied in the loaded dice. What prevents me from driving thee out of the land, as thou didst me? ("Forgive him," entreated Damayanti.) But have no fear; thou art my brother still, my father's son. I give thee thy life and estates. Be happy, brother. May you live a hundred years!"
There is not your equal on earth," said Pushkara, falling at his feet. "May you live a thousand years!"
"Glory to Nala!" shouted the multitudes around the palace, Glory to Nala, the great, the merciful king. May he live a million of years!"
So Nala won back his kingdom.
Here end the books of the Haunted King and the Loaded Dice. And now, good people, bow while the Brahmans chant the Vedas. "HEAR US! HEAR US! BRAHMA!"
LEWES'S LIFE OF GOETHE.*
WE may apply to Goethe the senti
ment of his own Shakespeare und Kein Ende, and say that his interest is perennial. The questions which he continues to excite among the critics seem endless, whether we regard their variety or their duration. What has been written about him constitutes of itself no small body of literature. Not to mention the anecdotes, conversations, sketches, lampoons and eulogies, of which he has been the occasion, we might reckon the critical essays upon his works by the thousands. All that he ever said and did has been put in print: his physiology even has furnished a theme to Carus and Hufeland: while his smaller poems have originated bushels of controversial pamphlets, and his larger ones become the texts of elaborate courses of lectures at the universities. Only Dante has caused more dispute, and only Shakespeare been so voluminously bewritten.
The questions which exercise the critics are, whether Goethe was a poet, and of what rank; whether his conceptions of art were the lowest or the loftiest; and whether, personally, he was a god or a demigod, or merely a welldressed and specious-looking devil? Between Menzel and Riemer, between Heine and Carlyle, we may find all sides of these questions argued with infinite talent and an inexhaustible enthusiasm. It seems to be necessary, in the critical world, to have a theory of his existence and character, just as it is to have a theory of Hamlet, or of the authorship of Junius. Mr. Lewes's book, therefore, is only one more contribution cast upon the heap which, for the last thirty years, has been rising like a pyramid around the bones of the great king of German literature.
We have already expressed our opinion of the work, in a way which, on a closer perusal, we find but little occasion to qualify. As a narrative, it abounds in interest; much of it, indeed, is an acquisition to literature; but the critical parts of it we cannot estimate very highly. Mr. Lewes's principles of art are so superficial, founded as they are on the shallowest of all philosophies,
when applied to the deeper problems of art, that his judgments of Goethe's works are not always worthy. Their more obvious rhetorical qualities he feels and appreciates; but their interior significance, their real artistic value, he often misses. Cherishing a kind of phobia, as every Positivist must, against everything that does not lie on the surface as plain as the nose on your face, and having adopted, at the outset, that stupid commonplace of some of the Germans, that Goethe was a Realist, while Schiller was an Idealist, he flurries and flounders, before the Wilhelm Meister and the Faust, like a frail coasting shallop suddenly driven far to sea. He persists, too, in trying to measure the vast billowy waters with the line and lead that may have served him so well among his native creeks and inlets.
As the result of all that has been said of Goethe, the opinion is fast settling down into a conviction, that the phrase which best describes him is this: the Artist of his age. Mr. Carlyle calls him the Spokesman of his age, and Emerson, varying the term, the Writer; but, it is clear in the case of both, that they use the words as in some sort synonymous with the words poet or artist. He was more than the mere secretary or recorder of the visa et cogitata of his time. He was the man who best expressed its results-the utterer of its aspirations the lens which brought its varied tendencies to a focus. He was an artist in this sense, that his endowments were peculiarly those of the artist; because his whole life and training were artistic; because he produced some of the best specimens of art, in its worthiest department-that of poetry, and because he was so thoroughly possessed by the idea of art, and devoted to it with such a consistent and absorbing devotion. His entire outward and inward life was one great picture; the soft atmosphere of beauty was the element he breathed; while he saw, in the issues of art, results as grand, universal and beneficent, as those which the philosopher ascribes to his science, or the vision of the enthusiast discovers
The Life and Works of Goethe: with Sketches of his Age and Cotemporaries, from published and unpublished Sources. By G. H. LEWES. 2 vols. Boston: Ticknor & Fields.