alas! his mother cried. His
sisters are not here. What is to be done!
the sannyasin gently, can be regarded as a member of his family.
Once again he put his ear to Madhav's heart. He shook his head. Just
a little longer
Me? Oh, if only
I could give my life for his! the mother cried. How gladly I
would give it! In his mind Madhav shouted a protest, as if the
very force of his thought must be heard.
But the sannyasin
calmly drew from his bag the same small box from which he had taken
the yellow pellet. He now produced a blue one. It will be a very
quick and painless death, he said, holding the pill out to her
on his palm.
The mother took a
step backward. But ... my life!
she cried. How can I? My daughters. They
need their mother. Who will care for them? If you knew their
mothers-in-law you would understand! And their children my
grandchildren! They all need me! Alas! How can I give my life when
it is not my own? It is my duty to live. Oh, if only my girls were
Madhav began to
feel the blood tingling through his legs and felt a relaxation
coming into his throat. He moved his tongue in his mouth.. But there
was no need now to speak. Slowly, unnoticed, he turned his head
toward the scene beside the couch. His mother was staring at the
pill in the sannyasin hand, and in her face was an immense
vitality, affronted, insulted. It is not as
though I were an old woman, she said. I
still have many years of service. My daughters, my grandchildren,
perhaps even my great grandchildren ... so much responsibility!