Kunda Nandini was seated on the floor, her head resting against the the bed-post. At sight of Nagendra the tears came into her eyes. As he stood beside her, Kunda, like a severed branch of a twining plant, laid her head at his feet. In a stifled voice he said--
"What is this, Kunda? for what fault are you leaving me?"
Kunda had not been used to answer her husband, but now, at her last hour, her tongue was loosened. She said, "For what fault did you leave me?"
Silenced, Nagendra sat beside Kunda with bent head.
She went on: "If on coming home yesterday you had called for me, if you had once come and sat by me in this way, I had not died. I have had you but a short time, even to day my desire to see you is not satisfied. I would not have died."
At these loving, heart-piercing words, Nagendra let his head fall upon his knees, and remained speechless.
Then Kunda spoke again. To day she was eloquent, for it was her last day with her husband. She said, "Fie! do not sit thus silent; if I see not your face smiling as I die, I shall not die happy."
Surja Mukhi also had thus spoken. In death all are equal.
Struck to the heart, Nagendra said in troubled tones, "Why have you done this? Why did you not send for me?"
Kunda, with many a smile transient as a flash of lightning, said, "Think not of that; what I said, I said in the hurry of my mind. Before you came I had determined that after I had seen you I would die. I had resolved that if the <em>Didi</em> (Surja Mukhi) returned, I would leave you with her and die. I would no longer be a thorn in her path of happiness. I had determined to die, but on seeing you I was not willing."
Nagendra made no answer. To-day he was without reply to the formerly speechless Kunda Nandini. Kunda remained silent for some time; she was losing the power of speech, death was taking possession. Then Nagendra saw the death-shadowed face full of love. Its gentle light shining in her troubled face, remained stamped on Nagendra's heart to his latest day. After a rest, she said, with great difficulty--
"My thirst for speech has not been satisfied. I knew you to be a god; I never had the courage to speak, my desire was not extinguished. Death is approaching, my mouth is dry, my tongue falters, I have no more time."
She rested her head upon Nagendra, closed her eyes, and remained speechless. The doctor came but he gave her no medicine. Seeing that there was no hope, he withdrew with a sad countenance. Feeling that the last hour was come, Kunda wished to see Surja Mukhi and Kamal Mani. Both came; Kunda took the dust from their feet, they weeping loudly. Then Kunda hid her face between her husband's feet. She spoke no more, consciousness gradually departed. Her face lying on her husband's feet, the youthful Kunda Nandini's spirit departed, the blooming flower died.
Surja Mukhi, checking her sobs, looked at her dead companion-wife, and said, "May thy happy fate be mine; may I die thus, my head on my husband's feet." Then taking her weeping husband's hand, she led him away.
Afterwards, Nagendra, recovering his firmness, took Kunda to the riverside, performed the last rites, and bade farewell to the lovely form.