પૃષ્ઠ:Sorathi Baharvatiya-3.pdf/૨૧૯

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morning the Bania women would come for the day's water supply. Mhowa secreted himself round the corner at the foot of the stairs, and as the first woman descended. ushered her politely but firmly into the cave beyond. In this way he at last had all the Bania ladies corralled, huddling together, terrified but incapable of raising any alarm. Mhowa then address them in true Robin Hood style; assuring them that they had nothing to fear by the way of personal violence, if they would divest themselves of their ornaments. Needs must when the devil drives, and all the ladies were stripped of everything of value they had about them. Mhowa then bade them a polite adieu and particularly begged them to tell their husbands that they had been treated with all consideration and knightly courtesy, Off went Mhowa with his booty in one direction, the sorrowing and despoiled ladies in another to explain the sad morning's work to, and if possible placate their irate husbands Nothing in all Mhowa's career, though, seemed to me as comic and characteristic as its close, Catching a popular outlaw, and on the whole Mhowa was popular in spite of his robberies, is a difficult if not an impossible matter in Kathiawar-for a while. Especially when he is so resourceful, has friends everywhere, and is as well mounted as Mhowa was on his far-famed Kathi mare. He would pounce here, and before the news of his coup had reached the nearest police he would be off and away over the Burda hills, or into the Gir, or across the trackless Rann. But by degrees the hunters are almost always able to make the country too hot to hold the quarry. Then there is nothing for it, but flight to alien lands, or one last desperate rally, and perhaps