An Unfinished Song

by Swarnakumari Ghosal

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Chapter XIX

I did not know what happened to me after this information, my mind was in a turmoil. After dinner father went to the outer apartment and I was left to think over my fate. Suddenly I felt myself growing strong, my natural shyness left me, and I entered my room still confused, yet with a strong determination. I would let my father know how I felt. I could not face him and explain, but I could write, and write I did.

"To your honoured feet,

"Dear Father,

I have no desire to marry. I have examined my heart carefully, and I know I shall find no happiness in marriage. Do not therefore think my resolution is the result of a foolish fancy. I hear that in England many a girl remains unmarried and spends her life in service to her country. Grant me to do likewise, let me dedicate my life in service to the Motherland. There alone will I find happiness. Do not, I beseech you, dear father, make me unhappy by urging me into marriage.

"Your loving daughter,


I sent a servant with the letter to father, taking care that it should reach him before he went out again. I waited for a reply with anxious and palpitating heart. Presently I heard footsteps, my father was coming. Suddenly my shyness returned and I thought I could not show him my face again. He entered the room and remained standing in one spot. I felt his gaze upon me although I stood with my head bent down. After a pause he spoke:

"I see you have a very mistaken idea about marriage. Must you necessarily remain single in order to serve your country? Even if you did, you could not do much in that direction under the present conditions. You will be able to fulfil the duties of your life far better married than single, and I have not the least doubt that you will be happy. For both the temporal and spiritual well-being of woman marriage is the best road. You are only a child and know nothing of life. If I acted upon your advice I would prepare unhappiness for you. It is my regret that I have not been able to marry you before now, but fortunately I have succeeded in securing a good bridegroom in the end. Thank God for this blessing and be prepared to receive your husband with a joyful heart."

My father did not wait for a reply but left me abruptly. His determination was firm, I was powerless. I realised I could not disobey him. I was after all but a weak Bengali girl; I could but obey. There was no alternative. I could not after this speak further to my father, so I had to face the inevitable.


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