The Brahman Chach was a young man with a beautiful face and fair complexion. He was of a tall stature, and well proportioned with an argent person and ruby cheeks When she looked at his handsome features and cypress-like stature, she fell in love with him a thousand fold with her heart and soul. She was fascinated and infatuated, and was struck dumb by his beauty, his form and his vesture. She was overpowered by his striking delivery and marvellous handwriting; and love for Chach obtained an abiding place in her soul, and the tree of affection found a firm footing in the land of her heart. The king had no offspring. The queen had no issue by him. She therefore sent a message to Chach through a cunning go-between in the following words:—“O Chach, the arrows of your eye-lashes have pierced the target of my heart and wounded it, and the chain of separation from you has been fastened on my neck. You will therefore be kind enough to administer some medicine from the dispensary of your union, and to remove the chain from my neck with the hand of your society. Adorn my neck and ears with the necklace of your love and with the ear-rings of your devotion. If you will not comply with my request, I shall kill myself. Quatrain—May it occur to you to make this my heart happy and to free it from the pangs of your separation. But, O beloved, if you turn your face away from me, I shall raise a cry, that you are doing injustice to me.”
When the old woman delivered the above message Chach expressed his abliorrence, and thought it proper to reject the proposal. “Disloyalty,” said he, “in the seraglio of monarchs means (immediate) danger to life, punishment in the next world, and a bad name in this world. When the wrath of kings reaches its climax, it cannot be checked or resisted with any screen or any medicine. Therefore, let this alone. We, moreover, are Brahmans and my father and brother are ascetics, and are still sitting in their praying place resigning every thing to God. I do not approve of such infidelity. I am in the service of the king, and I should live between hope and fear. Such a thing is disapproved by wise men. One should not place any confidence in four things, viz., a sovereign, fire, wind,* and water. I would not bring this contempt on my head. You will never gain this object from me.”
When this message was brought to the queen, she became calmer and quieter and sent back the following reply:—“If you shrink from familiarity and intimacy with me, at least give me my due by showing your face to me every day, in season and out of season, so that the thought of your beauty may remain fresh in my mind and I may console myself by cherishing hopes of your union with me. Verse—Happy shall I be if I see you year in and year out, or even if I see you in imagination one single night in the whole period of my life. O my idol! I shall never be despondent in thinking of you; I shall see at least the night of your union one day.”
When the eye began to play its part in the affair, and the heart was seized with (desire for) union of the beloved, a sympathy ultimately sprang up between them, which reached its consummation in morning meetings; and their love and intimacy increased beyond measure, and was confirmed by a solemn compact of permanent union. The king had no knowledge of their relations. There was indeed a party of their opponents who entertained evil suspicions regarding them, from the glances of the two, but as no one had observed anything (more suspicious), their secret was maintained. Some of the (said) enemies did inform the king and divulged (all that they knew), but he refused to accept their word, (saying) that such things were not likely to happen at his palace, and that the Chamberlain Chach was not likely to allow himself to be so ungrateful or do such an iniquitous thing.
Thus, in the course of time the entire kingdom came under the sway of Chach. Whatever he did was to the liking of the king, and king Sáhasi Rái did not dispose of any important business without first consulting him. In this way, every order issued by Chach, whether positive or prohibitive, came to be strictly obeyed throughout the dominion.
At length, the divine decree burst into light from the curtains of mystery. The king fell ill, and his illness took a lingering turn. (By and bye), the signs of death changed the face of his life for the worse. The king's wife became very anxious. She called Chach and told him:—“ The king's life is about to come to its close, and the signs of the cessation of his breath have already appeared. If the king dies, there is no issue of his to inherit the kingdom. His near relations, therefore, will secure all his property and his country. There is no doubt that they will disinherit and distress me, owing to their estrangement (from me). When even during the life-time of the king, they called me ugly names, they will at such a time as this deprive me of my life and property. One plan occurs to me, and I think it will turn out the right one, and if it is so destined, our wishes will be perfectly gratified and this kingdom will devolve upon you. My opinion is that, if we show our courage, the great God will hand over this kingdom to you, and its honour and glory will long remain with you, and all the people will pay allegiance to you.” Chach said: “I am ready to obey you with all my heart, and whatever you propose must be very good. But it is a wellknown maxim that consultation with upright servants is a duty. You must therefore acquaint me with what you have in your mind.” Queen Suhandí said: “Issue an order that fifty chains and fetters be made. Bring them secretly at night, conceal them in the house and keep them ready for use when required.” Accordingly, under the orders of Chach, some heavy chains and fetters were made. They were brought into the innermost apartments of the palace under cover of night, and kept secure in a corner. When the king's last moments arrived and the death agony ensued, the physicians rose to leave. (But) Queen Suhandi asked them to wait in the house for a short time. At the same time, she directed a confidential servant to remove the king to an inner apartment and to close the gate, so that no one in the city should come to know that Sahasi was dead. She then asked him to bring a large number of her followers and dependents into the house. When these men were all brought in, she ordered her servant to call those near relations of the king, who were claimants to the throne (and whom she named one by one). In this way, every one was brought in separately, on the pretext that the king was better that day and wanted to consult him. When each came, he was sent to the appointed apartment where the queen's confidential men put each into chains. Thus, all of her rivals were imprisoned and secured in irons. Next, she sent for those relations of the king who were poor and in want. Each of these, as he came, was told: “To-day, the king is annoyed with such and such a relation of yours, owing to whose ill-treatment and misbehaviour he did not sleep soundly, and has imprisoned him. If you wish to be free from poverty and hunger, and acquire strength by means of wealth and property, go to that prison-room and remove the head of your enemy. Then put yourself in firm possession of his house, his property, his followers and his estates.” In this manner, every one went to the room, and killed that relation of his who was on bad terms with him, and made himself master of his house, cattle, riches, and domestics. Thus, in one single night, they (Suhandí and Chach) made all their troublesome opponents the food of the blood-thirsty sword, and their heart was at ease in regard to their enemies. No competitor now remained in the kingdom to claim the inheritance.
After the friendly followers and dependents were thus pledged, and after the poorer chiefs did the bloody work of the sword, they ranged themselves in a line in front of the palace, and stood there ready with their arms. All the merchants and the artisans, the plebians and the nobles (were also) brought by them, and the royal throne was well adorned. Then queen Suhandi came behind a curtain, and sent the following message to them through wazir Budhiman: “Speak to the peers and nobles of the State and convey to them the wishes of their sovereign. Tell them that, though His Majesty is much better and his illness is fast disappearing, still owing to the shock caused, by (the recent) vindictive disturbance, he is unable to come to the public audience hall, and the affairs of the people, high and low, rich and poor, who have not received justice, will remain pending. He is therefore pleased to appoint the Chamberlain Chaeh, in his life-time, as his vireg??ent to carry on the administration in his name, so that no mischief may find its way into the country, owing to injustice done to the people, whose destinies have been committed to his care by the Creator.” (Hearing these words), all those who were present bent low respectfully and rubbed their heads on the ground, and said with one voice: “We are ready to obey the command of the king. The Chamberlain Chach is in every way qualified for such a great office, and possesses many good qualities and virtues, as he has already put the State affairs on a firm footing.” Then queen Suhandí Devi presented costly dresses of honour, adorned with ornaments inlaid with jewels, to a thousand of her faithful dependents and friends, who were among the heads of tribes and leaders of armies. At the same time, she placed the crown of the country on the head of Chach, and seated him on the throne. The whole assemblage felt much gratified, and bound themselves to do the service required of them. She then ordered the wazir to be elected anew for the same post, and the chief officers were encouraged in their faithful service with plenty of rewards. New orders about the grant of estates were (also) passed in favour of several nobles. And thus the whole kingdom rested entirely on Chach for its administration.*
Six months elapsed in this manner. After that period, the news of Rai Sáhasi's death coming to the ear of his brother Maharat, the king of Chitór, the latter prepared an expedition, and with a large army and followers, and furious elephants, and brave warriors, marched out to fight with Chach. He encamped within a league of Alor, and sent a number of his private servants and favourite domestics to Chach with the following message:—“ I am the rightful heir to this kingdom, and this country is the property of my fathers and grandfathers. It is but right that I should have for my own my brother's heritage: to you that same post of chamberlain and lieutenant will be awarded, and every endeavour will be made to trent you liberally.”*