In Times of Peril
G. A. Henty
Part 5 out of 6
"Oh, yes, of all things," the Warreners exclaimed. "But we have no
"Oh, I can mount you," he said. "Several of my fellows slipped into the
town in hopes of getting some loot, and three or four were shot; so if the
general will give you leave, I will take you."
The Warreners at once went in to Brigadier-General Jones, to whom they had
been attached since the fall of General Nicholson. As they were
supernumeraries on his staff, the general at once gave them leave, and in
high delight they followed their friend--a most gallant and fearless
officer, who had greatly distinguished himself by the dashing exploits
which he had executed with his troop of irregular horse--to his camp
outside the walls. Half an hour later they were riding at a trot toward
the spot where the ex-emperor had taken refuge. Their route lay across
ground hitherto in possession of the enemy, and they rode past thousands
of armed budmashes, or blackguards, of Delhi, who had left the city, and
were making their way to join some of the rebel leaders in the field.
These scowled and muttered curses as the little troop rode by; but the
blow which had just been dealt was so crushing, the dread inspired by
British valor so complete, that although apparently numerous enough to
have destroyed the little band without difficulty, not a man dared raise
his voice or lift a weapon.
"What are all these wonderful ruins?" Dick asked Captain Hodgson, by whose
side they were riding.
"This is where old Delhi stood. These great buildings are tombs of kings
and other great men; the smaller houses have gone to dust centuries ago,
but these massive buildings will remain for as many centuries more. Wait
till you see Kotub Minar; in my opinion there is nothing in India or in
the world to equal it."
Another half-hour's riding brought them into sight of a magnificent shaft
of masonry, rising far above the plain.
"That is the Minar," Captain Hodgson said; "it is the same word as
minaret. Is it not magnificent?"
The Kotub Minar is an immense shaft tapering gradually toward the top. It
is built in stages, with a gallery round each. Each stage is different. In
one it is fluted with round columns like a huge mass of basalt. In another
the columns are angular; and in the next, round and angular alternately.
The highest stage is plain. The height is very great, and the solidity of
execution and the strength of the edifice are as striking as its height
They were not, however, to go so far as the Kotub, for, questioning some
peasants, they learned that the king had halted at a building called
Durzah-Nizam-oo-deen. The gates were shut, and it was certain that the
king would have a large body of retainers with him. Matchlock men showed
at the windows and on the roof, and things looked awkward for the little
troop of cavalry. Captain Hodgson rode forward, however, without
hesitation, and struck on the great gate. A window by the side of the gate
opened, and he was asked what was wanted.
"I am come to take, and to carry into Delhi, the ex-king and his family.
It is better to submit quietly, for if I have to force my way in, every
soul in the place will be put to the sword."
In two minutes the postern opened, and a closely veiled figure made her
"I am the Begum," she said. And Captain Hodgson bent in acknowledgment
that the favorite wife of the man who was yesterday regarded as the
emperor of India, stood before him.
"The king will surrender," she said, "if you will promise that his life
shall be spared; if not, he will defend himself to the last, and will die
by his own hand."
"Defense would be useless," Captain Hodgson said. "The force I have would
suffice amply to carry the place; and if it did not, in three hours any
reinforcements I could ask for would be here. I have no authority to give
such a promise."
"If you give the promise it will be kept," the Begum said. "If you refuse,
the king will shoot himself when the first soldier passes the gate."
Captain Hodgson hesitated. It was true that he had no authority to make
such a promise; but he felt that government would far rather have the king
a captive in their hands than that he should excite a feeling of regret
and admiration among the people by dying by his own hand in preference to
falling into those of the British.
"I agree," he said after a pause. "I promise that the king's life shall be
In a minute the gate was thrown back, and an aged man came out, followed
by several women. The age of the king was nearly eighty-five, and he was
from first to last a mere puppet in the hands of others. In no case would
he have been executed by the government, since the old man was clearly
beyond any active participation in what had taken place.
The litter in which the king and his wives had been conveyed from Delhi
was again brought into requisition, and the party were soon _en route_ for
Delhi. The royal palace had been but a few hours in our hands before the
ex-king was brought in, a prisoner where he had so lately reigned. He was
lodged with his women in a small building in the palace, under a strong
guard, until it should be decided what to do with him.
"I shall go out to-morrow to try and catch some of the sons of the old
man. They are the real culprits in the matter. If you like to go out
again, and can get off duty, well and good," Captain Hodgson said.
The boys, who were very pleased at having been present at so historical an
event as the capture of the king of Delhi, warmly thanked Captain Hodgson;
and, having again obtained leave, started with him on the following
morning at daybreak. Some of the princes a spy had reported to Captain
Hodgson as being at Humayoon's tomb, a large building near the Kotub
Minar. They rode in the same direction that they had gone out on the
preceding day, but proceeded somewhat further.
"That is Humayoon's tomb," Captain Hodgson said, pointing to a large
square building with a domed roof and four lofty minarets, standing half a
mile off the road.
The troop rode up at a gallop, and, surrounding the building, dismounted.
Soldiers were placed at all the various doors of the building, with orders
to shoot down any one who might come out, and Captain Hodgson sent a loyal
moulvie, named Rujol Ali, who had accompanied him, into the building, to
order the princes there to come out. Then arose within the building a
great tumult of voices, as the question whether they should or should not
surrender was argued. Several times the moulvie returned, to ask if any
conditions would be given; but Hodgson said sternly that no conditions
whatever would be made with them.
At last, after two hours' delay, two of the sons and a grandson of the
king, all of whom had been leaders in the mutiny, and authors of massacres
and atrocities, came out and surrendered. They were immediately placed in
a carriage which had been brought for the purpose, a guard was placed over
them, and ordered to proceed slowly toward the city.
Then Hodgson, accompanied by the Warreners, entered the inclosure which
surrounded the tomb. Here from five to six thousand of the refuse of the
city, many of them armed, were assembled. A yell of hate arose as the
little band entered; guns were shaken defiantly; sabers waved in the air.
The odds were tremendous, and the Warreners felt that nothing remained but
to sell their lives dearly.
"Lay down your arms!" Captain Hodgson shouted in a stentorian voice.
Eight or ten shots were fired from the crowd, and the bullets whistled
over the heads of the horsemen, but fortunately none were hit.
"Lay down your arms!" he shouted again. "Men, unsling your carbines.
As the carbines were leveled, the bravery of the mob evaporated at once.
Those nearest threw down their arms, and as with leveled guns the horsemen
rode through the crowd, arms were everywhere thrown down, and resistance
was at an end. Over a thousand guns, five hundred swords, and quantities
of daggers and knives were collected; and a number of elephants, camels,
and horses were captured.
Ordering the native lieutenant to remain with the troop in charge of these
things until some carts could be sent out for the arms, Captain Hodgson,
accompanied by the boys, rode off after the carriage, which had started
two hours before.
They rode rapidly until they neared Delhi, when they saw the carriage,
surrounded by a great mob. Captain Hodgson set spurs to his horse and
galloped forward at full speed, followed by the boys. They burst through
the crowd, who were a large body of ruffians who had just left the city,
where the fighting was even now not over, and who were all armed. A
defiant cry broke from them as the three horsemen rode up to the carriage,
from which with the greatest difficulty the guard had so far kept the
There was not a moment for hesitation. Captain Hodgson raised a hand, and
a momentary silence reigned.
"These men in the carriage," said he in loud tones, "have not only
rebelled against the government, but have ordered and witnessed the
massacre and shameful treatment of women and children. Thus, therefore,
the government punishes such traitors and murderers!"
Then drawing his revolver, before the crowd could move or lift a hand he
shot the three prisoners through the head. The crowd, awed and astonished,
fell back, and the carriage with the dead bodies passed into the city.
A RIOT AT CAWNPORE.
While the guns of Delhi were saluting the raising of the British flag over
the royal palace, General Havelock and his force were fighting their way
up to Lucknow. On the 19th of September he crossed the Ganges, brushed
aside the enemy's opposition, and, after three days' march in a tremendous
rain, found them in force at the Alumbagh. After a short, sharp fight they
were defeated, and the Alumbagh fell into our hands. All the stores and
baggage were left here, with a force strong enough to hold it against all
attacks; and after a day to rest his troops, General Havelock advanced on
the 22d, defeated the enemy outside Lucknow, and then, as the direct route
was known to be impassable, he followed the canal as far as the
Kaiserbagh, and there turning off, fought his way through the streets to
the Residency, where he arrived only just in time, for the enemy had
driven two mines right under the defenses, and these would, had the
reinforcements arrived but one day later, have been exploded, and the fate
of the garrison of Cawnpore might have befallen the defenders of Lucknow.
The desperate street fighting had, however, terribly weakened the little
force which had performed the feat. Out of fifteen hundred men who had
entered the city, a third were killed or wounded, among the former being
the gallant Brigadier-General Neil.
With so weak a force it was evident that it would be hopeless to endeavor
to carry off the sick, the wounded, the women, and children through the
army of rebels that surrounded them, and it was therefore determined to
continue to hold the Residency until further aid arrived. The siege
therefore recommenced, but under different conditions, for the increased
force enabled the British to hold a larger area; and although the
discomforts and privations were as great as before--for the reinforcements
had brought no food in with them--the danger of the place being carried by
assault was now entirely at an end.
One noble action connected with the relief of Lucknow will never be
forgotten. Before General Havelock started up from Cawnpore, General Sir
James Outram, his senior officer, arrived, with authority to take the
command. Upon his arrival, however, he issued a general order, to say that
to General Havelock, who had done such great deeds to relieve Lucknow,
should be the honor of the crowning success; and that he therefore waived
his seniority, and would fight under General Havelock as a volunteer until
Lucknow was relieved. A more generous act of self-negation than this was
never accomplished. To the man who relieved Lucknow would fall honor,
fame, the gratitude of the English people, and all this General Outram of
his own accord resigned. He was worthy indeed of the name men gave him--
the "Bayard of India."
The news that Lucknow was relieved caused almost as much delight to the
troops at Delhi as their own successes had given them, for the anxiety as
to the safety of the garrison was intense. To the Warreners the news gave
an intense pleasure, for the thought of the friends they had left behind
in that terrible strait had been ever present to their mind. The faces of
the suffering women, the tender girls, the delicate children, had haunted
them night and day; and their joy at the thought that these were rescued
from the awful fate impending over them knew no bounds.
It was not at Delhi, however, that the Warreners heard the news; for on
the 23d, only three days after the occupation of the city, they left with
the flying column of Colonel Greathead, which was ordered to march down to
Agra, clearing away the bands of mutineers which infested the intervening
country, and then to march to Cawnpore, to be in readiness to advance on
Lucknow. The boys had no difficulty in obtaining leave to accompany this
column, as Ned would naturally on the first opportunity rejoin his
regiment, which was at Cawnpore, while Dick was longing to form one of the
naval brigade, which, under Captain Peel, was advancing up the country.
The rebels were found in force at Allyghur, and were defeated without
difficulty; and after several minor skirmishes the force marched hastily
down to Agra, which was threatened by a large body of the enemy. Without a
halt they marched thirty miles to Agra, and encamped in the open space
outside the fort.
Just as they were cooking their meals a battery of artillery opened upon
them, an infantry fire broke out from the surrounding houses, and a large
body of cavalry dashed in among them.
For a moment all was confusion; but the troops were all inured to war;
with wonderful rapidity they rallied and attacked the enemy, who were over
five thousand strong, and finally defeated them with great slaughter, and
captured fourteen guns. Agra saved, the column started two days later for
Cawnpore; upon the way it defeated bodies of rebels, and punished some
zemindars who had taken part against us, and arrived at Cawnpore on the
26th of October.
At Majupoorie, halfway up from Agra, the force had been joined by a
brigade under Colonel Hope Grant, who, as senior officer, took the command
of the column. They marched into Cawnpore three thousand five hundred
strong, all troops who had gone through the siege of Delhi; and Ned at
once joined his regiment, where he was warmly received.
On the following day the Ninety-third Highlanders and a part of the naval
brigade, two hundred strong, arrived; and Dick's delight as the column
marched in was unbounded. He reported himself for duty at once, and, as
among the officers were some of his own shipmates, he was at once at home.
There was little sleep in the tents of the junior officers of the brigade
that night. Dick's name had been twice mentioned in dispatches, and all
sorts of rumors as to his doings had reached his comrades. The moment,
therefore, that dinner was over, Dick was taken to a tent, placed on a
very high box on a table, supplied with grog, and ordered to spin his
yarn, which, although modestly told, elicited warm applause from his
On the 30th Colonel Grant's column moved forward, and arrived after three
days' march within six miles of the Alumbagh. They had with them a great
convoy of siege material and provisions, and these were next day escorted
safely into the Alumbagh, where the little garrison had held their own,
though frequently attacked, for six weeks. The Sixty-fourth Regiment had
already done so much fighting that it was not to form part of the advance.
The naval brigade was increased on the 1st of November by the arrival of
Captain Peel himself, with two hundred more sailors and four hundred
troops. They had had a heavy fight on the way up, and had protected the
convoy and siege guns of which they were in charge, and had defeated the
enemy, four thousand strong, and captured all his guns, but with a loss to
themselves of nearly one hundred men. Soon after the commencement of the
engagement, Colonel Powell, who was in command of the column, was killed;
and Captain Peel then took command of the force, and won the victory.
The astonishment of the people of Cawnpore at the appearance of the brawny
tars was unbounded. The sailors went about the streets in knots of two or
three, staring at the contents of the shops, and as full of fun and good
humor as so many schoolboys. Greatly delighted were they when the natives
gave them the least chance of falling foul of them--for they knew that the
people of the town had joined the mutineers--and were only too glad of an
excuse to pitch into them. They all carried cutlasses, but these they
disdained to use, trusting, and with reason, to their fists, which are to
the natives of India a more terrible, because a more mysterious weapon
than the sword. A sword they understand; but a quick hit, flush from the
shoulder, which knocks them off their feet as if struck by lightning, is
to them utterly incomprehensible, and therefore very terrible.
One day the Warreners were strolling together through the town, and turned
off from the more frequented streets, with a view of seeing what the
lower-class quarters were like. They had gone some distance, when Ned
"I think we had better turn, Dick. These scowling scoundrels would be only
too glad to put a knife into us, and we might be buried away under ground
in one of these dens, and no one be ever any the wiser for it. I have no
doubt when we have finished with the fellows, and get a little time to
look round, there will be a clear sweep made of all these slums."
The lads turned to go back, when Dick said, "Listen!"
They paused, and could hear a confused sound of shouting, and a noise as
of a tumult. They listened attentively.
"Ned," Dick exclaimed, "I am sure some of those shouts are English. Some
of our fellows have got into a row; come on!"
So saying, he dashed off up the narrow street, accompanied by his brother.
Down two more lanes, and then, in an open space where five or six lanes
met, they saw a crowd. In the midst of it they could see sabers flashing
in the air, while British shouts mingled with the yells of the natives.
"This is a serious business," Ned said, as they ran; "we are in the worst
part of Cawnpore."
Three or four natives, as they approached the end of the lane, stepped
forward to prevent their passage; but the lads threw them aside with the
impetus of their rush, and then, shoulder to shoulder, charged the crowd.
Expecting no such assault, the natives fell aside from the shock, and in a
few seconds the boys stood by their countrymen. There were six in all--
sailors, as the boys had expected. The fight had evidently been a sharp
one. Four or five natives lay upon the ground, and two of the sailors were
bleeding from sword-cuts. The tars gave a cheer at the sight of this
reinforcement, especially as one of the newcomers was a naval officer--for
Dick had bought the uniform of a naval officer killed in the fight of the
The infuriated crowd drew back for a moment; but seeing that the
reinforcement consisted only of two lads, again attacked fiercely. The
boys had drawn their swords, and for a minute the little party fought back
to back. It was evident, however, that this could not last, for every
moment added to the number of their foes, the budmashes flocking down from
"Now, lads," Ned shouted, "get yourselves ready, and when I say the word
make a dash all together for that house at the left corner. The door is
open. Once in there, we can hold it till help comes. Press them a bit
first, so as to scatter them a little, and then for a rush. Are you all
With a cheer the sailors hurled themselves upon the crowd in a body. The
surprise, added to the weight and force of the charge, was irresistible;
the natives were sent flying like ninepins, and before the enemy quite
understood what had happened, the whole party were safe in the house, and
the door slammed-to and bolted.
"See if there are any windows they can get in at."
The men ran into the two rooms of which, on the ground floor, the house
consisted; but the windows in these, as is often the case in Indian towns,
were strongly barred. There was a furious beating at the door.
"It will give in a minute," Dick said. "Upstairs, lads; we can hold them
against any number."
"It's lucky they did not use their pistols," Ned said, as they gathered in
the upper room; "we should have been polished off in no time had they done
"I expect they made sure of doing for us with their swords and knives,"
Dick replied, "and did not like to risk calling attention by the sound of
pistol-shots. Now, lads, how did you get into this row?"
"Well, your honor," said one of the tars, "we were just cruising about as
it might be, when we got down these here lanes, and lost our bearings
altogether. Well, we saw we had fallen among land pirates, for the chaps
kept closing in upon us as if they wanted to board, and fingering those
long knives of theirs. Then one of them he gives a push to Bill Jones, and
Bill gives him a broadside between the eyes, and floors him. Then they all
begins to yell, like a pack o' they jackals we heard coming up country.
Then they drew their knives, and Bill got a slash on his cheek. So we,
seeing as how it were a regular case of an engagement all along the line,
drew our cutlasses and joins action. There were too many of them, though,
and we were nigh carried by the pirates, when you bore up alongside."
At this moment a crash was heard below; the door had yielded, and the
crowd rushed into the lower part of the house. When it was found to be
empty there was a little delay. No one cared to be the first to mount the
stairs, and encounter the determined band above. Dick stepped forward to
glance at the state of things below, when half a dozen pistol-shots were
fired. One inflicted a nasty cut on his cheek, and another struck him on
"Are you hurt, Dick?" Ned said, as his brother leaped back.
"No, nothing to speak of; but it was a close shave. Perkins, pick up my
sword, will you? I didn't think of their firing."
"Being indoors, they are not afraid of the pistols being heard any
distance," Ned said. "Keep a sharp lookout, lads, in case they make a rush
upstairs, while I tie up my brother's hand and face."
"They are coming, sir," the sailors cried, as the house shook with the
rush of a body of men up the stairs.
"Stand well back, lads, and cut them down as they enter the door."
Pushed from behind, five or six of the enemy burst simultaneously into the
room; but ere they could fire a pistol, or even put themselves into an
attitude of defense, they were cut down or run through the body. Then a
tremendous crash and a wild cry was heard.
"Hurrah!" Dick shouted, "the staircase has given way."
Many groans and shrieks were heard below; then there was a sound of
persons being carried out, and for awhile, quiet below, while outside the
hubbub became greater.
"What is going on outside?" Ned said, and Dick and he peered through the
closed jalousies into the street.
A number of budmashes were bringing bundles of bamboos from a basket-
maker's shop opposite; some of the crowd were opposing them.
"They are going to fire the house," Dick exclaimed. "The people opposing
are the neighbors, no doubt. They'll do it, though," he added, as the
fiercer spirits drove the others back. "What's best to be done, Ned?"
Ned looked round, and then up.
"Let us cut through the bamboo ceiling, Dick; there must be a space
between that and the roof. The wall won't be thick between that and the
next house, and we can work our way from house to house; and if the flames
gain--for they are sure to spread--we can but push off the tiles and take
to the roofs, and run the gantlet of their pistols and muskets. Their
blood's up now, and they will shoot, to a certainty. Do you think that the
"That's it. Now, lads, two of you stand close together; now, Perkins, you
jump on their shoulders and cut a hole through the bamboos with your
cutlass. Quick, lads, there's no time to lose;" for they could hear the
tramping of feet below, and the sound as the bundles of bamboo were thrown
"Now, lads," Dick went on--for as a naval officer he was naturally in
command of the men--"take two or three of those rugs on that couch there,
and knot them together. Shut the door, to keep the smoke out. There,
they've lit it!"--as a shout of pleasure rose from below.
The bamboos were tough, and Perkins could not use his strength to
advantage. Smoke curled up through the crevices of the floor, and all
watched anxiously the progress made.
"That's big enough," Dick cried at last; "we have not a moment to lose,
the flames are making through the floor. Now, Perkins, climb through the
hole; now, lads, follow in turn."
Four of the sailors were rapidly through the hole.
"Now, lads, one of you two; don't waste time. Now, Ned, catch hold of this
man's legs and give him a hoist; that's right. Now drop that rope, lad.
Now, Ned, I'm in command; go on. Now, lads, catch this bundle of rugs;
that's right. Give me one end. There we are. Now spread one of those rugs
over the hole, to keep the smoke out. Now, lads, how is the wall?"
"Quite soft, your honor; we'll be through in a minute."
In accordance with orders, those first up had begun at once with their
cutlasses to pick a hole through the mud wall which formed the partition
between the houses. Although thicker below, the divisions between what may
be called the lofts of the houses were made but of a single brick of
unbaked clay or mud, and as Dick clambered up through the hole, the
sailors had already made an opening quite large enough to get through. All
crept through it, and again Dick hung a rug over the hole to keep out the
"Now, lads, attack the next wall again; but don't make more noise about it
than you can help. The people below will be removing what things they can,
and making a row; still, they might hear us; and it is as well they should
think us burned in the house where we were. But you must look sharp, lads,
for the fire spreads through these dried-up houses as if they were built
The sailors labored hard, and they worked their way from house to house;
but the flames followed as fast; and at last, almost choked by smoke and
dust, Dick said:
"Quick, my men, knock off some tiles, and get on the roof, or we shall be
burned like rats in a trap. This side, the furthest from the street."
The tiles gave way readily; and each man thrust his head out through the
hole he had made, for a breath of fresh air. In a minute all were on the
"Crouch down, lads; keep on this side of the roof; people are not likely
to be looking out for us this side, they will be too busy moving their
furniture. Move on, boys; the fire is spreading now pretty nearly as fast
as we can scramble along."
It was already a great fire; down both the lanes at whose junction the
house first fired stood, the flames had spread rapidly, and leaping across
the narrow streets had seized the opposite houses. Already fifty or sixty
houses were in a blaze, although it was not five minutes from the
beginning of the fire.
"There is a cross lane about ten houses ahead, Dick," Ned said.
"We will stick on the last house as long as we can, Ned, and then slide
down by the rope on to that outhouse. They are too busy now with their own
affairs to think about us; besides, they suppose we are dead long ago, and
the fellows who are at the head of it will have made off to look after
their own houses, for the wind is blowing fresh, and there is no saying
how far the fire may spread. Besides, we shall have our fellows up in a
few minutes. Directly the fire is seen, they are sure to be sent down to
They were soon gathered on the roof of the last house in the lane, and
three minutes later were driven from it by the flames. One by one they
scrambled down by the aid of the rope on to the outhouse, and thence to
the ground. Then they passed through the house into the lane beyond.
Looking up the lane, it was an arch of fire; the flames were rushing from
every window and towering up above every roof, almost meeting over the
lane. Upon the other hand, all was wild confusion and terror; men were
throwing out of upper windows bedding and articles of furniture; women
laden with household goods, and with children in their arms and others
hanging to their clothes, were making their way through the crowd;
bedridden people were being brought out; and the screams, shrieks, and
shouts mingled with the roaring of flames and the crashes of falling
roofs. As in great floods in India, the tiger and the leopard, the cobra
and the deer, may all be seen huddled together on patches of rising
ground, their mutual enmity forgotten in the common danger, so no one paid
the slightest attention to the body of Englishmen who so suddenly joined
"Sheathe your cutlasses, my lads," Dick said. "There's no more fighting to
be done. Lend a hand to help these poor wretches. There, two of you take
up that poor old creature; they have carried her out, and then left her;
take her on till you find some open space to set her down in. Now, Ned,
you take a couple of men and work one side of the lane, I will take the
opposite side with the others. Let us go into every room and see that no
sick people or children are left behind. There, the flames have passed the
cross lane already; the corner house is on fire."
For quarter of an hour the tars labored assiduously; and many a bedridden
old woman, or a forgotten baby, did they bring out. Fortunately at the end
of the lane was an open space of some extent, and here piles of household
goods and helpless people were gathered.
At the end of a quarter of an hour they heard a deep tramp, and the naval
brigade, led by Captain Peel, filed up through the lane. The sailors burst
into a cheer as they saw their friends arrive, and these responded upon
seeing some of their comrades at work carrying the sick and aged. Dick at
once made his way to Captain Peel, and reported briefly that the fire was
in the first place lighted with the purpose of burning him and his party;
but that they had escaped, and had since been at work helping the
"Very well," Captain Peel said. "You can give details afterward; at
present we have got to try and stop the flames. It seems a large block of
"It is, sir. It extends across several lanes; there must be a couple of
hundred houses in flames, and I fear, from what we have seen in the lane
we have been working in, a considerable loss of life."
"Mr. Percival," Captain Peel said to one of his officers, "take your
company and knock down or blow up all the houses on this side of that lane
there. Mr. Wilkinson, you take number two company, and do the same with
the lane to the right. The rest follow me. March!"
In five minutes all the tars and the Highlanders--who arrived on the
ground immediately after the sailors--were at work pulling down houses, so
as to arrest the progress of the flames by isolating the burning block.
Upon three sides they succeeded, but upon the other the fire, driven by
the wind, defied all their efforts, and swept forward for half a mile,
until it burned itself out when it had reached the open country. In its
course it had swept away a great part of the worst and most crowded
quarters of Cawnpore.
All through the evening and night the troops and sailors toiled; and
morning had broken before all danger of any further extension was over;
the men were then ordered home, a fresh body of troops coming up to
preserve order, and prevent the robbery, by the lawless part of the
population, of the goods which had been rescued from the flames. Then,
after a ration of grog had been first served out to each man, and
breakfast hastily cooked and eaten, all sought their tents, exhausted
after their labors.
It was not until evening that signs of life were visible in the camp. Then
men began to move about; and an orderly presently came across to request
the Warreners to go to Captain Peel's quarters to report the circumstances
through which the fire arose.
The lads related the history of the affair from the time when they had
come upon the scene, and Captain Peel expressed himself in terms of warm
laudation of their gallantry, quickness, and presence of mind. Then the
sailors were called up, and their story, although longer and more diffuse
than that told by the Warreners, was yet substantially the same, and
Captain Peel told the men that they ought not to have wandered in that way
into the slums of Cawnpore, but that beyond that indiscretion they had
acted, as reported by Mr. Warrener, with great courage, coolness, and good
discipline. Then the Warreners went back to their tent, and had to go
through their yarn again with great minuteness and detail.
"I do think," said Rivers, a midshipman of some two years older standing
than Dick, "that you are the luckiest youngster in the service. It is not
one fellow in a hundred thousand who has such chances."
"That is so, Rivers," one of the lieutenants answered; "but it is not one
in a hundred thousand who, having gone through such adventures, would have
been alive to tell them at the end. The getting into these scrapes may be
luck, but the getting out of them demands courage, coolness, and quickness
of invention, such as not one lad in a thousand possesses. Now, Rivers,
tell me honestly whether you think that, had you been cut off as he was in
that sortie at Lucknow, you would ever have thought of robbing that old
fakir of his wig?"
"No," Rivers said; "I am quite sure it would never have occurred to me.
Yes, as you say, sir, Dick Warrener has no end of luck, but he certainly
deserves and makes the best of it."
THE RELIEF OF LUCKNOW.
On the 6th of November Captain Peel, with five hundred of his gallant
bluejackets, marched from Cawnpore, taking with them the heavy siege guns.
Three days later they joined General Grant's column, which was encamped at
a short distance from the Alumbagh, and in communication with the force
holding that position. On the 9th Sir Colin Campbell, who had come out
from England with all speed to assume the chief command in India, arrived
in camp, and his coming was hailed with delight by the troops, who felt
that the hour was now at hand when the noble garrison of Lucknow were to
The total force collected for the relief were: Her Majesty's Eighth,
Fifty-third, Seventy-fifth, and Ninety-third regiments of infantry; two
regiments of Punjaub infantry; and a small party of native sappers and
miners. The cavalry consisted of the Ninth Lancers, and detachments of
Sikh cavalry and Hodgson's Horse. The artillery comprised Peel's naval
brigade, with eight heavy guns, ten guns of the Royal Horse Artillery, six
light field guns, and a heavy battery of the Royal Artillery. A total of
about twenty-seven hundred infantry and artillery, and nine hundred
On the morning of the 10th Mr. Kavanagh, a civilian, came into camp. He
had, disguised as a native, started the evening before from the Residency
with a native guide, named Kunoujee Lal, had swum the Goomtee, recrossed
by the bridge into the city, passed through the streets, and finally made
his way in safety. He was perfectly acquainted with the city, and brought
plans from Sir James Outram for the guidance of the commander-in-chief in
After an examination of the plans Sir Colin Campbell determined that,
instead of forcing his way through the narrow streets as General Havelock
had done, he would move partly round the town, and attack by the eastern
side, where there was much open ground, sprinkled with palaces and mosques
and other large buildings. These could be attacked and taken one by one,
by a series of separate sieges, and thus the Residency could be approached
with far less loss than must have taken place in an attempt to force a way
through the crowded city.
On the 15th the troops marched to the Alumbagh, defeating a small rebel
force which attempted to stop their way.
At the Alumbagh Dick Warrener--for Ned was with his regiment, which, to
his great disgust, had remained at Cawnpore--had the joy of meeting his
father again, as Warrener's Horse had not shared in Havelock's advance to
the Residency, but had remained as part of the garrison of the Alumbagh.
It is needless to tell of the delight of that meeting after all that the
lads had gone through since they parted from their father, nearly four
months before, at Cawnpore. Colonel Warrener had heard of the safe arrival
of his sons at Delhi before he marched up from Cawnpore, but since then no
word had reached him. Captains Dunlop and Manners were also delighted to
meet him again; and the whole of the troop vied with each other in the
heartiness of the welcome accorded to him. Disease and death had sadly
lessened the ranks; and of the one hundred men who had volunteered at
Meerut to form a body of horse, not more than fifty now remained in the
ranks. It was very late at night--or rather, early in the morning--before
the party assembled in Colonel Warrener's tent separated, to seek a few
hours' sleep before the _réveillé_ sounded for the troops to rise and
prepare for the advance.
Soon after daybreak the column were under arms. The Seventy-fifth
Regiment, to its intense disappointment, was ordered to stay and guard the
Alumbagh, with its immense accumulation of stores and munitions; and the
rest of the troops, turning off from the direct road and following the
line the boys had traversed when they made their way into the Residency,
marched for the Dil Koosha, a hunting-palace of the late king of Oude.
The enemy, who had anticipated an advance by the direct line taken by
Havelock, and who had made immense preparations for defense in that
quarter, were taken aback by the movement to the right, and no opposition
was experienced until the column approached the beautiful park, upon an
elevated spot in which the Dil Koosha stood.
Then a brisk musketry fire was opened upon them. The head of the column
was extended in skirmishing order, reinforcements were sent up, and,
firing heavily as they advanced, the British drove the enemy before them,
and two hours after the first shot was fired were in possession of the
palace. The enemy fled down the slope toward the city; but the troops
pressed forward, and, with but slight loss, carried the strong position of
the Martinière College, and drove the enemy across the canal. By this time
the enemy's troops from the other side of the city were flocking up, and
prepared to recross the canal and give battle; but some of the heavy guns
were brought up to the side of the canal, and the rebels made no further
attempt to take the offensive.
The result of the day's fighting more than answered the commander-in-
chief's expectations, for not only had a commanding position, from which
the whole eastern suburb could be cannonaded, been obtained, but a large
convoy of provisions and stores had been safely brought up, and a new base
of operations obtained.
The next day, the 15th of November, is celebrated in the annals of British
military history as that upon which some of the fiercest and bloodiest
fighting which ever took place in India occurred. At a short distance
beyond the canal stood the Secunderbagh (Alexander's garden), a building
of strong masonry, standing in a garden surrounded by a very high and
strong wall. This wall was loopholed for musketry; the gate, which led
through a fortified gateway, had been blocked with great piles of stones
behind it, and a very strong garrison held it. In front, a hundred yards
distant, was a fortified village, also held in great force. Separated from
the garden of the Secunderbagh only by the road was the mosque of Shah
Nujeeff. This building was also situated in a garden with a strong
loopholed wall, and this was lined with the insurgent troops; while the
terraced roof of the mosque, and the four minarets which rose at its
corners, were crowded with riflemen.
The column of attack was commanded by Brigadier Hope; and as it crossed
the bridge of the canal and advanced, a tremendous musketry fire was
opened upon it from the village which formed the advanced post of the
enemy. The column broke up into skirmishing line and advanced steadily.
"The guns to the front!" said an aide-de-camp, galloping up to the naval
With a cheer the sailors moved across the bridge, following the Horse
Artillery, which dashed ahead, unlimbered, and opened fire with great
rapidity. It took somewhat longer to bring the ponderous sixty-eight-
pounders of the naval brigade into action; but their deep roar when once
at work astonished the enemy, who had never before heard guns of such
The rebels fought obstinately, however; but Brigadier-General Hope led his
troops gallantly forward, and after a brief, stern fight the enemy gave
way and fled to the Secunderbagh.
The guns were now brought forward and their fire directed at the strong
wall. The heavy cannon soon made a breach and the assault was ordered. The
Fourth Sikhs had been directed to lead the attack, while the Ninety-third
Highlanders and detachments from the Fifty-third and other regiments were
to cover their advance, by their musketry fire at the loopholes and other
points from which the enemy were firing.
The white troops were, however, too impatient to be at the enemy to
perform the patient role assigned to them, and so joined the Sikhs in
their charge. The rush was so fierce and rapid that a number of men pushed
through the little breach before the enemy had mustered in force to repel
them. The entrance was, however, too small for the impatient troops, and a
number of them rushed to the grated windows which commanded the gates.
Putting their caps on the ends of the muskets, they raised them to the
level of the windows, and every Sepoy at the post discharged his musket at
once. Before they could load again the troops leaped up, tore down the
iron bars, and burst a way here also into the garden.
[Illustration: THE RUSH WAS SO FIERCE, THAT A NUMBER OF MEN PUSHED THROUGH
THE LITTLE BREACH BEFORE THE ENEMY COULD REPEL THEM.]
Then ensued a frightful struggle; two thousand Sepoys held the garden, and
these, caught like rats in a trap, fought with the energy of despair.
Nothing, however, could withstand the troops, mad with the long-balked
thirst for vengeance, and attacked with the cry--which in very truth was
the death-knell of the enemy--"Remember Cawnpore!" on their lips. No
quarter was asked or given. It was a stubborn, furious, desperate strife,
man to man--desperate Sepoy against furious Englishman. But in such a
strife weight and power tell their tale, and not one of the two thousand
men who formed the garrison escaped; two thousand dead bodies were next
day counted within the four walls of the garden.
The battle had now raged for three hours, but there was more work yet to
be done. From the walls and minarets of the Shah Nujeeff a terrible fire
had been poured upon the troops as they fought their way into the
Secunderbagh, and the word was given to take this stronghold also. The
gate had been blocked up with masonry. Captain Peel was ordered to take up
the sixty-eight-pounders and to breach the wall. Instead of halting at a
short distance, the gallant sailor brought up his guns to within ten yards
of the wall, and set to work as if he were fighting his ship broadside to
broadside with an enemy. It was an action probably unexampled in war. Had
such an attack been made unsupported by infantry, the naval brigade would
have been annihilated by the storm of fire from the walls, and Dick
Warrener's career would have come to a close. The Highlanders and their
comrades, however, opened with such a tremendous fire upon the points from
which the enemy commanded the battery, and at every loophole in the wall,
that the mutineers could only keep up a wild and very ineffectual fire
upon the gunners. The massive walls crumbled slowly but surely, and in
four hours several gaps were made.
Then the guns ceased their fire, and the infantry with a wild cheer burst
into the garden of the Shah Nujeeff, and filled the mosque and garden with
the corpses of their defenders. The loss of the naval brigade in this
gallant affair was not heavy, and Dick Warrener escaped untouched.
Evening was approaching now, and the troops bivouacked for the night. The
Ninetieth and that portion of the Fifty-third not engaged in the assault
of the Secunderbagh and Shah Nujeeff were now to have their turn as
leaders of the attack.
The next point to be carried was the messhouse, a very strong position,
situated on an eminence, with flanking towers, a loopholed mud wall, and a
ditch. The naval guns began the fray, and the heavy shot soon effected a
breach in the wall. The defenders of the post were annoyed, too, by a
mortar battery in an advanced post of the British force in the Residency--
for the space between the garrison and the relieving force was rapidly
lessening. The word was given, and the Ninetieth, Fifty-third, and Sikhs
dashed forward, surmounted all obstacles, and carried the position with
the bayonet; and the observatory, which stood behind it, was soon
afterward most gallantly carried by a Sikh regiment.
In the meantime the garrison of the Residency was not idle. On the day of
the arrival of the British at Dil Koosha flag-signals from the towers of
that palace had established communication with the Residency, and it was
arranged that as soon as the relieving forces obtained possession of the
Secunderbagh the troops of the garrison should begin to fight their way to
Delighted at taking the offensive after their long siege, Havelock's
troops, on the 16th, attacked the enemy with fury, and carried two strong
buildings known as Hern Khana and engine-house, and then dashed on through
the Chuttur Munzil, and carried all before them at the point of the
All the strongholds of the enemy along this line had now fallen; and on
the 17th of March Sir Colin Campbell met Generals Outram and Havelock,
amid the tremendous cheers of British troops, which for awhile drowned the
heavy fire which the enemy was still keeping up.
The loss of the relieving column during the operations was far less than
that which had befallen Havelock's force in its advance--for it amounted
only to one hundred and twenty-two officers and men killed, and three
hundred and forty-five wounded. The loss of the enemy considerably
exceeded four thousand. The relieving force did not advance into the
Residency, but were stationed along the line which they had conquered
between the Dil Koosha and the Residency, for the enemy were still in
enormously superior force, and threatened to cut the line by which the
British had penetrated.
The first operation was to pour in a supply of luxuries from the stores at
the Dil Koosha. White bread, oranges, bananas, wine, tea, sugar, and other
articles were sent forward; and these, to those who had for nearly six
months existed on the barest and coarsest food, were luxuries indeed. An
even greater pleasure was afforded by sending in the mails which had
accumulated, and thus affording the garrison the intense delight of
hearing of those loved ones at home from whom they had been so long cut
The day that the junction was made Dick obtained leave for a few hours to
visit his friends in the Residency. It was singular to the lad to walk
leisurely across the open space of the Residency garden, where before it
would have been death to show one's self for a minute, and to look about
rather as an unconcerned spectator than as formerly, with nerves on strain
night and day to repel attack, which, if successful, meant death to every
soul in the place.
In the battered walls, the shattered roofs, the destruction everywhere
visible, he saw how the terrors of the siege had increased after he had
left; and in view of the general havoc that met his view Dick was
astonished that any one should have survived the long-continued
bombardment. In some respects the change had been favorable. The accession
of strength after the arrival of General Havelock's force had enabled
great and beneficial alteration to be made in the internal arrangements,
and the extension of the lines held had also aided in improving the
sanitary condition. But the change in the appearance of the place was
trifling in comparison with that in the faces of the defenders. These
were, it is true, still pinched and thin, for the supply of food had been
reduced to a minimum, and the rations had been lowered almost to
starvation point. But in place of the expression of deep anxiety or of
stern determination then marked on every face, all now looked joyous and
glad, for the end to the terrible trials had arrived.
As he moved along men looked at the midshipman curiously, and then, as the
lad advanced with outstretched hands, greeted him with cries of
astonishment and pleasure; for it was naturally supposed in the garrison
that the Warreners had fallen in the sortie on Johannes' house. Very
hearty were the greetings which Dick received, especially from those whom
he met who had fought side by side with him at Gubbins' house. This
pleasure, however, was greatly dashed by the answers to his questions
respecting friends. "Dead," "dead," "killed," were the replies that came
to the greater part of the inquiries after those he had known, and the
family in whom he was chiefly interested had suffered heavily. Mr.
Hargreaves was killed; Mr. and Mrs. Ritchie and all their children had
succumbed to the confinement and privation; but Mrs. Hargreaves and the
girls were well. After briefly telling how they had escaped in disguise,
after having been cut off from falling back after the successful sortie,
Dick Warrener hurried off to the house where he heard that his friends
It was outside the bounds of the old Residency, for the ground held had,
since the arrival of Havelock's force, been considerably extended, and the
ladies had had two rooms assigned to them in a large building. Dick
knocked at the door of the room, and the ayah opened it--looked at him--
gave a scream, and ran back into the room, leaving the door open. Dick,
seeing that it was a sitting-room, followed her in. Mrs. Hargreaves,
alarmed at the cry, had just risen from her chair, and Nelly and Edith ran
in from the inner room as Dick entered. A general cry of astonishment
broke from them.
"Dick Warrener!" Mrs. Hargreaves exclaimed. "Is it possible? My clear boy,
thank God I see you again. And your brother?"
"He escaped too," Dick said.
Mrs. Hargreaves took him in her arms and kissed him as a dear relative
would have done; for during the month they had been together the boys had
become very dear to her, from their unvarying readiness to aid all who
required it, from their self-devotion and their bravery. Nor were the
girls less pleased, and they warmly embraced the young sailor, whom they
had come to look upon as if he had been a member of the family, and whom
they had wept as dead.
For a time all were too much moved to speak more than a few disjointed
words, for the sad changes which had occurred since they had last met were
present in all their thoughts. Nelly, the youngest, was the first to
recover, and wiping away her tears, she said, half-laughing, half-crying:
"I hate you, Dick, frightening us into believing that you were killed,
when you were alive and well all the time. But I never quite believed it
after all. I said all along that you couldn't have been killed; didn't I,
mamma? and that monkeys always got out of scrapes somehow."
Mrs. Hargreaves smiled.
"I don't think you put it in that way exactly, Nelly; but I will grant
that between your fits of crying you used to assert over and over again
that you did not believe that they were killed. And now, my dear boy, tell
us how this seeming miracle has come about."
Then they sat down quietly, and Dick told the whole story; and Mrs.
Hargreaves warmly congratulated him on the manner in which they had
escaped, and upon the presence of mind they had shown. Then she in turn
told him what they had gone through and suffered. Edith burst into tears,
and left the room, and her mother presently went after her.
"Well, Nelly, I have seen a lot since I saw you, have I not?"
"Yes, you are a dear, brave boy, Dick," the girl said.
"Even though I am a monkey, eh?" Dick answered. "And did you really cry
when you thought I was dead?"
"Yes," the girl said demurely; "I always cry when I lose my pets. There
was the dearest puppy I ever had--"
Dick laughed quietly. "Who is the monkey now?" he asked.
"I am," she said frankly; "but you know I can't help teasing you, Dick."
"Don't balk yourself, Nelly, I like it. I should like to be teased by you
all my life," he said in lower tones.
The girl flushed up rosy red. "If you could always remain as you are now,"
she said after a little pause, "just an impudent midshipman, I should not
mind it. Do you know, Dick, they give terriers gin to prevent their
growing; don't you think you might stop yourself? It is quite sad," she
went on pathetically, "to think that you may grow up into a great
"I am quite in earnest, Nelly," Dick said, looking preternaturally stern.
"Yes," Nelly said, "I have always understood midshipmen were quite in
earnest when they talked nonsense."
"I am quite in earnest," Dick said solemnly and fixedly again.
"No, really, Dick, we are too old for that game," Nelly said, with a great
affectation of gravity. "I think we could enjoy hide-and-seek together, or
even blindman's buff; but you know children never play at being little
lovers after they are quite small. I remember a dear little boy, he used
to wear pinafores----"
Here Mrs. Hargreaves again entered the room, and Dick, jumping up
suddenly, said that it was quite time for him to be off. "I shall only
just have time to be back by the time I promised."
"Good-by, Dick. I hope to see you again tomorrow."
Edith came in, and there was a hearty shake of the hand all round, except
that Dick only touched the tips of Nelly's fingers, in a manner which he
imagined betokened a dignified resentment, although as he looked up and
saw the girl's eyes dancing with amusement, he could scarcely flatter
himself that it had produced any very serious effect. Dick returned in an
indignant mood to the naval brigade, which was quartered in the Shah
Nujeeff's mosque and gardens.
"You are out of sorts to-night, Dick," one of his brother midshipmen said,
as they leaned together upon the parapet of the mosque, looking down on
the city; "is anything the matter?"
"Were you ever in love, Harry?"
"Lots of times," Harry said confidently.
"And could you always persuade them that you were in earnest?" Dick asked.
Harry meditated. "Well, I am not quite sure about that, Dick; but then,
you see, I was never quite sure myself that I was in earnest, and that's
rather a drawback, you know."
"But what would you do, Harry, supposing you were really quite in earnest,
and she laughed in your face and told you you were a boy?" Dick asked.
"I expect," the midshipman said, laughing, "I should kiss her straight
off, and say that as I was a boy she couldn't object."
"Oh, nonsense," Dick said testily; "I want advice, and you talk bosh!"
The midshipman winked confidentially at the moon, there being no one else
to wink at, and then said gravely:
"I think, Dick, the right thing to do would be to put your right hand on
your heart, and hold your left hand up, with the forefinger pointing to
the ceiling, and to say, 'Madam, I leave you now. When years have rolled
over our heads I will return, and prove to you at once my affection and my
Dick's eyes opened to their widest, and it was not until his friend went
off in a shout of laughter that he was certain that he was being chaffed;
then, with an exclamation of "Confound you, Harry!" he made a rush at his
comrade, who dodged his attack, and darted off, closely pursued by Dick.
And as they dashed round the cupola and down the stairs their light-
hearted laughter--for Dick soon joined in the laugh against himself--rose
on the evening air; and the tars, smoking their pipes round the bivouac
fires below, smiled as the sound came faintly down to them, and remarked,
"Them there midshipmites are larking, just as if they were up in the
A SAD PARTING.
Sir Colin Campbell had considered it possible that the enemy would, upon
finding that the Residency was relieved, and the prey, of whose
destruction they had felt so sure, slipped from between their fingers,
leave the city and take to the open, in which case he would, after
restoring order, have left a strong body of troops in the city, and have
set off in pursuit of the rebels.
It soon became apparent, however, that the enemy had no intention of
deserting their stronghold. Lucknow abounded with palaces and mosques,
each of which had been turned into a fortress, while every street was
barricaded, every wall loopholed. As from forty thousand to fifty thousand
men, including many thousands of drilled soldiers, stood ready to defend
the town, foot by foot, it was clear that the fighting force at Sir Colin
Campbell's command was utterly inadequate to attempt so serious an
operation as the reduction of the whole city. To leave a portion of the
force would only have submitted them to another siege, with the necessity
for another advance to their relief. The commander-in-chief therefore
determined to evacuate the Residency and city altogether, to carry off the
entire garrison, and to leave Lucknow to itself until the reinforcements
from England should arrive, and he should be able to undertake the
subjugation of the city with a force adequate for the purpose.
His intention was kept a secret until the last moment, lest the news might
reach the enemy, who, from the batteries in their possession, could have
kept up a terrible fire upon the road along which the women and children
would have to pass, and who would have attacked with such fury along the
whole line to be traversed, that it would have been next to impossible to
draw off the troops.
In order to deceive the enemy, guns were placed in position to play upon
the town, and a heavy fire was opened against the Kaiserbagh, or King's
Palace, a fortress of great strength. In the meantime preparations for
retreat were quietly carried on. Bullock hackeries were prepared for the
carriage of the ladies and children; and on the morning of the 23d of
November the occupants of the Residency were informed that they must
prepare to leave that afternoon, and that no luggage beyond a few personal
necessaries could be carried.
The order awakened mingled emotions--there was gladness at the thought of
leaving a place where all had suffered so much, and round which so many
sad memories were centered; there was regret in surrendering to the foe a
post which had been so nobly defended for so many months. Among many, too,
there was some dismay at the thought of giving up all their movable
possessions to the enemy. One small trunk was all that was allowed to
each, and as each tried to put together the most valuable of his or her
belongings, the whole of the buildings occupied were littered, from end to
end, with handsome dresses, silver plate, mirrors, clocks, furniture, and
effects of all kinds. A short time since every one would have gladly
resigned all that they possessed for life and liberty; but now that both
were assured, it was felt to be hard to give up everything.
Dick went in to Mrs. Hargreaves' to see if he could be of any service, but
there was comparatively little to do, for that lady had lost all her
portable property in the destruction of the bungalow on the estate owned
by her husband, and had come into Lucknow shortly before the outbreak,
when the cloud began to lower heavily, with but a small amount of baggage.
Dick had not been able to see them since his first visit, being
incessantly on duty.
"I was so sorry I could not come up before," he explained; "but each of
the officers has been up to have a look at the Residency; and as we may be
attacked at any moment, Captain Peel expects them all to be on the spot
with their men."
"Shall we get away without being fired at?" Nelly asked.
"I am afraid you will have to run the gantlet in one or two places," Dick
said. "The enemy keep up an almost incessant fire; and although, we must
hope, they will not have an idea that any number of people are passing
along the road, and their fire will therefore be only a random one, it may
be a little unpleasant; but you are all accustomed to that now. I must be
off again, Mrs. Hargreaves; I really only came to explain why I did not
come yesterday, and only got leave for an hour, so I have come at a trot
all the way."
And so Dick made off again; and as he shook hands with them, he could feel
that Nelly had not yet forgiven the coldness of his last good-by.
Upon the previous day all the sick and wounded had been moved to the Dil
Koosha; that done, the very large amount of money, amounting to nearly a
quarter of a million, in the government treasury, was removed, together
with such stores as were required. Then the guns were silently withdrawn
from the batteries, and at half-past four in the afternoon the emigration
of the women and children commenced. All had to walk to the Secunderbagh,
along a road strewn with _débris_, and ankle deep in sand, and in some
places exposed to a heavy fire. At one of these points a strong party of
seamen were stationed, among whom Dick was on duty. As each party of women
arrived at the spot they were advised to stoop low, and to run across at
full speed, as the road being a little sunk, they thus escaped observation
by the enemy, whose battery was at some little distance, but the grape
whistled thickly overhead, and several were wounded as they passed.
Dick had been on the lookout for the Hargreaves party, and came forward
and had a talk with them before they started across the open spot. He had
quite recovered from Nelly's attack upon his dignity as a man and a naval
officer, and the pair as usual had a wordy spar. Dick was, however, rather
serious at the prospect of the danger they were about to run.
"Will you let me cross with you one at a time?" he asked.
"Certainly not, Dick," Mrs. Hargreaves said. "You could do us no good, and
would run a silly risk yourself. Now, girls, are you ready?"
"Stoop low, for heaven's sake!" Dick urged.
Mrs. Hargreaves started at a run, accompanied by Alice. Nelly was a little
behind. Dick took her hand and ran across, keeping between her and the
"Down low!" he cried, as, when they were half across, a heavy gun fired.
As he spoke, he threw his arms round Nelly, and pulled her to the ground.
As he did so a storm of grape swept just above them, striking the wall,
and sending a shower of earth over them. Another half-minute and they were
across on the other side.
"Good-by," he said to them all; "you are over the worst now."
"Good-by, my dear boy. Mind how you cross again. God bless you." And Mrs.
Hargreaves and Alice shook his hand, and turned to go. Nelly held hers out
to him. He took it and clasped it warmly; he was loosening his hold when
the girl said: "You have saved my life, Dick."
"Oh, nonsense," he said.
"You did, sir, and--yes, I am coming, mamma"--in answer to a word from her
mother. "Oh, how stupid you are, Dick!" she cried, with a little stamp of
her foot; "don't you want to kiss me?"
"Of course I do," Dick said.
"Then why on earth don't you do it, sir?--There, that is enough. God bless
you, dear Dick;" and Nelly darted off to join her mother.
Then he returned to his post, and the ladies went on to the Secunderbagh.
Here a long halt was entailed, until all were gathered there, in order
that they might be escorted by a strong guard on to the Dil Koosha. Then
came an anxious journey--some in bullock-carts, some in doolies, some on
foot. The Hargreaves walked, for the anxiety was less when moving on foot
than if shut up in a conveyance. Several times there were long halts in
expectation of attack; and a report that a great movement could be heard
among the enemy at one time delayed them until reinforcements could be
sent for and arrived. But about midnight all reached the Dil Koosha, where
a number of tents had been erected, and refreshments prepared for the many
Later on the troops came tramping in, having gradually, and in regular
order, evacuated their posts, leaving their fires burning and moving in
absolute silence, so that it was not until next morning that the enemy
awoke to the knowledge that the Residency was deserted, and that their
expected prey had safely escaped them.
The next day was spent quietly, all enjoying intensely the open air, the
relief from the long pressure, and the good food, wine, and other comforts
now at their disposal. Dick brought Colonel Warrener to make the
acquaintance of his friends, and a pleasant afternoon was spent together.
On the 25th a heavy gloom fell upon all, for on that day the gallant
General Havelock, worn out by his labors and anxieties, was seized with
dysentery, and in a few hours breathed his last. He was a good man as well
as a gallant soldier, and his death just at the moment when the safety of
those for whom he had done so much was assured cast a gloom not only over
his comrades and those who had fought under him, but on the whole British
nation. All that day the great convoy had been on the move between the Dil
Koosha and the Alumbagh. Half the fighting force served as an escort, the
other half stood in battle order between them and Lucknow, in case the
enemy should come out to the attack. The whole road between the two
stations was throughout the day covered by a continuous stream of bullock
carts, palanquins, carts, camels, elephants, guns, ammunition carts, and
Mrs. Hargreaves and her daughters were on an elephant, with their ayah;
and as the Warreners had placed in the howdah a basket of refreshments,
the long weary march was borne, not only without inconvenience, but with
some pleasure at the novelty of the scene and the delight of air and
Sir Colin Campbell had intended to allow a halt of seven days at the
Alumbagh, but on the 27th of May a continuous firing was heard in the
direction of Cawnpore. Fearful for the safety of that all-important post,
the commander determined to push forward his convoy at once. On the
morning of the 28th they started. Dick had come soon after daybreak to the
tents where the Hargreaves were, with many others, sleeping.
"There is bad news from Cawnpore," he said, "and you will have to push on.
I expect that it will be a terrible two days' march with all this convoy.
Pray take enough provisions with you for the two days in the howdah, and
some blankets and things to make a cover at night. I am sure that the
tents will not be got up, and the confusion at the halting-place will be
fearful; but if you have everything with you, you will be able to manage."
It was well that they were so prepared, for the first march, owing to the
immense length of the convoy, lasted until long past dark; then there was
a halt for a few hours, and then a thirty miles' journey to the bridge of
boats on the Ganges.
The naval brigade accompanied the convoy, but Dick had seen nothing of his
friends. Colonel Warrener, however, who with his troop had moved along the
line at intervals, spoke to them, and was able at the halting-place to
assist them to make a temporary shelter, where they snatched a few hours'
The news that had caused this movement was bad indeed. General Wyndham, in
command at Cawnpore, had been defeated by the Gwalior rebel contingent,
aided by the troops of Nana Sahib and those of Koer Sing, a great Oude
chief, and part of the town had been taken. Sir Colin himself pushed
forward at all speed with a small body of troops and some heavy guns, so
as to secure the safety of the bridge of boats; for had this fallen into
the hands of the enemy the situation of the great convoy would have been
bad indeed. However, the rebels had neglected to take measures until it
was too late, and the approaches to the bridge on either side were guarded
by our guns. The passage of the convoy then began, and for thirty-nine
hours a continuous stream passed across the river.
The whole force which had accomplished the relief of Lucknow had not
returned, as it was considered necessary to keep some troops to command
the town, and prevent the great body of mutineers gathered there from
undertaking expeditions. The Alumbagh was accordingly held by the Fifth,
Seventy-eighth, Eighty-fourth, and Ninetieth Foot, the Madras Fusiliers,
the Ferozepore Sikhs, and a strong artillery force, the whole under the
command of Sir James Outram.
As the long day went on, and the thunder of the guns at Cawnpore grew
louder and louder, Sir Colin Campbell took the naval brigade and the
greater portion of the fighting troops, and pushed forward. The regiments
as they arrived were hurried across the bridge, to take part in the
defense of the position guarding the bridge, where General Wyndham's
troops were defending themselves desperately against immense forces of the
"What has happened?" was the question the officers of the naval brigade
asked those of the garrison when they first met.
"Oh, we have been fearfully licked. A series of blunders and
mismanagement. We have lost all the camp equipage, all the stores--in
fact, everything. It is the most disgraceful thing which has happened
since the trouble began. We lost heavily yesterday, frightfully to-day.
They say the Sixty-fourth is cut to pieces."
It had indeed been a wretched business, and was the only occasion when
British troops were, in any force, defeated throughout the mutiny. The
affair happened in this way. The British force at Cawnpore were stationed
in an intrenched position, so placed as to overawe the city, and to
command the river and bridge of boats, which it was all-important to keep
open. The general in command received news that the mutinous Gwalior
contingent, with several other rebel bodies, was on its way to Cawnpore.
Unfortunately, they were approaching on the opposite side of the city to
that upon which the British intrenchments were situated, and the general
therefore determined to leave a portion of his force to protect the
intrenchments and bridge, while with the rest he started to give battle to
the enemy in the open at a distance on the other side of the city, as it
was very important to prevent Cawnpore from again falling into their
hands. He advanced first to Dhubarlee, a strong position on the canal,
where a vigorous defense could have been made, as a cross canal covered
our flank. Unfortunately, however, the next day he again marched forward
eight miles, and met the advanced guard of the enemy at Bhowree. The
British force consisted of twelve hundred infantry, made up of portions of
the Thirty-fourth, Eighty-second, Eighty-eighth, and Rifles, with one
hundred native cavalry, and eight guns. The troops advanced with a rush,
carried the village, defeated the enemy, and took two guns, and then
pressing forward, found themselves in face of the main body of the enemy's
army. Then for the first time it appears to have occurred to the general
that it was imprudent to fight so far from the city. He therefore ordered
a retreat, and the British force fell back, closely followed by the enemy.
Had he halted again at Dhubarlee, he might still have retrieved his error;
but he continued his retreat, and halted for the night on the plain of
Jewar, a short distance from the northeast angle of the city.
No preparations appear to have been made in case of an attack by the
enemy, and when in the morning they came on in immense force, the British
position was seriously threatened on all sides. For five hours the troops
held their ground nobly, and prevented the enemy advancing by a direct
attack. A large body, however, moved round to the flank and entered the
city, thus getting between the British forces and their intrenchments. The
order was therefore given to retire, and this was carried out in such
haste that the whole of the camp equipage, consisting of five hundred
tents, quantities of saddlery, uniforms for eight regiments, and a vast
amount of valuable property of all kinds, fell into the hands of the
mutineers. All these stores had been placed in a great camp on the plain
outside the fortified intrenchments. It was a disastrous affair; and
Cawnpore blazed with great fires, lighted by the triumphant mutineers.
During the retreat a gun had been capsized and left in one of the lanes of
the town, and at dead of night one hundred men of the Sixty-fourth,
accompanied by a detachment of sailors, went silently out, and succeeded
in righting the gun, and bringing it off from the very heart of the city.
The next day the whole force moved out, and took up their position to
prevent the enemy from approaching the intrenchments. The mutineers,
commanded by Nana Sahib in person, advanced to the attack. One British
column remained in reserve. The column under Colonel Walpole succeeded in
repulsing the body opposed to it, and captured two of its eighteen-pounder
guns. The column under General Carthew maintained its position throughout
the day, but fell back toward the evening--a proceeding for which the
officer in command was severely censured by the commander-in-chief, who,
riding on ahead of his convoy, with a small body of troops, reached the
scene of action just at nightfall.
But it was the division under Brigadier-General Wilson, colonel of the
Sixty-fourth, that suffered most heavily. Seeing that General Carthew was
hardly pressed, he led a part of his own regiment against four guns which
were playing with great effect. Ned Warrener's heart beat high as the
order to charge was given, for it was the first time he had been in action
with his gallant regiment. With a cheer the little body, who numbered
fourteen officers and one hundred and sixty men, advanced. Their way led
along a ravine nearly half a mile long; and as they moved forward a storm
of shot, shell, and grape from the guns was poured upon them, while a
heavy musketry fire broke out from the heights on either side. Fast the
men fell, but there was no wavering; on at the double they went, until
within fifty yards of the guns, and then burst into a charge at full
Ned, accustomed as he was to fire, had yet felt bewildered at the iron
storm which had swept their ranks. All round him men were falling; a
bullet knocked off his cap, and a grape-shot smashed his sword off short
in his hand. The Sepoy artillerymen stood to their guns and fought
fiercely as the British rushed upon them. Ned caught up the musket of a
man who fell dead by his side, and bayoneted a gunner; he saw another man
at four paces off level a rifle at him, felt a stunning blow, and fell,
but was up in a minute again, having been knocked down by a brick hurled
by some Sepoy from a dwelling close behind the guns--a blow which probably
saved his life. Two of the guns where spiked while the hand-to-hand
Major Stirling fell dead, Captain Murphy and Captain Macraw died fighting
nobly beside him, and the gallant Colonel Wilson received three bullets
through his body. From all sides masses of the enemy charged down, and a
regiment of Sepoy cavalry swept upon them. Captain Sanders was now in
command, and gave the word to fall back; and even faster than they had
approached, the survivors of the Sixty-fourth retreated, literally cutting
their way through the crowds of Sepoys which surrounded them.
Ned was scarcely conscious of what he was doing; and few could have given
a detailed account of the events of that most gallant charge. The men kept
well together; old veterans in fight, they knew that only in close ranks
could they hope to burst through the enemy; and striking, and stabbing,
and always running, they at last regained the position they had quitted.
Of the fourteen officers, seven were killed and two wounded; of the one
hundred and sixty men, eighteen killed and fifteen wounded; a striking
testimony to the valor with which the officers had led the way. Such
slaughter as this among the officers is almost without parallel in the
records of the British army; and lads who went into the fray low down on
the list of lieutenants came out captains. Among them was Ned Warrener,
who stood fifth on the list of lieutenants, and who, by the death
vacancies, now found himself a captain.
It was not until they halted, breathless and exhausted, that he discovered
that he had been twice wounded; for in the wild excitement of the fight he
had been unconscious of pain. A bullet had passed through the fleshy part
of his left arm, while another had cut a clean gash just across his hip.
Neither was in any way serious; and having had them bound up with a
handkerchief, he remained with his regiment till nightfall put an end to
the fighting, when he made his way to the hospital. This was crowded with
badly wounded men; and Ned seeing the pressure upon the surgeons, obtained
a couple of bandages, and went back to his regiment, to have them put on
there. As he reached his camp, Dick sprang forward.
"My dear old boy, I was just hunting for you. We crossed to-night, and
directly we were dismissed I rushed off, hearing that your regiment has
suffered frightfully. I hear you are hit; but, thank God! only slightly."
"Very slightly, old boy; nothing worth talking about. It has been an awful
business, though. And how are you? and how is father?"
"Quite well, Ned. Not a scratch either of us."
"And the Hargreaves?"
"Mrs. Hargreaves and the girls are all right, Ned, and will be in to-
morrow; all the rest are gone."
"Gone! dear, dear! I am sorry. Now, Dick, come to the fire and bandage up
my arm; and you must congratulate me, old boy, for by the slaughter to-day
I have my company."
"Hurrah!" Dick exclaimed joyfully. "That is good news. What luck! not
eighteen yet, and a captain."
It was only on the 1st of December that the whole of the convoy from
Lucknow were gathered in tents on the parade-ground at Cawnpore, and all
hoped for a short period of rest.
On the morning of the 3d, however, notice was issued that in two hours the
women, children, and civilians of Lucknow would proceed to Allahabad,
under escort of five hundred men of the Thirty-fourth Regiment. It would
be a long march, for the convoy would be incumbered by the enormous train
of stores and munitions of war, while a large number of vehicles were
available for their transport.
Colonel Warrener heard the news early, and knowing how interested his sons
were in the matter, he rode round to their respective camps and told them.
Leaving them to follow, he then rode over to the Hargreaves' tent.
They had just heard the news, and short as the time was, had so few
preparations to make that they were ready for a start. A dawk-garry, or
post-carriage, was allotted to them, which, the ayah riding outside, would
hold them with some comfort, these vehicles being specially constructed to
allow the occupants, when two in number only, to lie down at full length.
It would be a close fit for the three ladies, but they thought that they
could manage; and it was a comfort to know that, even if no tents could be
erected at night, they could lie down in shelter.
The young Warreners soon arrived, and while their father was discussing
the arrangements with Mrs. Hargreaves, and seeing that a dozen of claret
which his orderly had at his orders brought across, with a basket of
fruit, was properly secured on the roof, they sauntered off with the
girls, soon insensibly pairing off.
"It will be two years at least before I am home in England, Nelly," Dick
said, "and I hope to be a lieutenant soon after, for I am certain of my
step directly I pass, since I have been mentioned three times in
dispatches. I know I am a boy, not much over sixteen, but I have gone
through a lot, and am older than my age; but even if you laugh at me,
Nelly, I must tell you I love you."
But Nelly was in no laughing mood.
"My dear Dick," she said, "I am not going to laugh; I am too sad at
parting. But you know I am not much over fifteen yet, though I too feel
older--oh, so much older than girls in England, who are at school till
long past that age. You know I like you, Dick, very, very much. It would
be absurd to say more than that to each other now. We part just on these
terms, Dick. We know we both like each other very much. Well, yes, I will
say 'love' if you like, Dick; but we cannot tell the least in the world
what we shall do five years hence. So we won't make any promises, or
anything else; we will be content with what we know; and if either of us
change, there will be no blame and misery. Do you agree to that, Dick?"
Dick did agree very joyfully, and a few minutes later the pair, very
silent now, strolled back to the tent. Ned and Edith were already there,
for Ned had no idea of speaking out now, or of asking Edith to enter into
an engagement which she might repent when she came to enter society in
England; and yet, although he said nothing, or hardly anything, the pair
understood each other's feelings as well as did Dick and Nelly.
All was now ready for the start, everything in its place, and the ayah on
the seat with the driver. Then came the parting--a very sad one. Mrs.
Hargreaves was much moved, and the girls wept unrestrainedly, while
Colonel Warrener, who had made his adieus, and was standing a little back,
lifted his eyebrows, with a comical look of astonishment, as he saw the
farewell embraces of his sons with Edith and Nelly.
"Humph!" he muttered to himself. "A bad attack of calf love all round.
Well," as he looked at the manly figures of his sons, and thought of the
qualities they had shown, "I should not be surprised if the boys stick to
it; but whether those pretty little things will give the matter a thought
when they have once come out at home remains to be seen. It would not be a
bad thing, for Hargreaves was, I know, a very wealthy man, and there are
only these two girls."
THE LAST CAPTURE OF LUCKNOW.
The women and children brought from Lucknow once sent off from the British
camp, the commander-in-chief was able to direct his attention to the work
before him--of clearing out of Cawnpore the rebel army, composed of the
Gwalior contingent and the troops of Koer Sing and Nana Sahib, in all
twenty-five thousand men. Against this large force he could only bring
seventy-five hundred men; but these, well led, were ample for the purpose.
The position on the night of the 5th of December was as follows. The
British camp was separated from the city by a canal running east and west.
The enemy were entirely on the north of this canal, their center occupying
the town. Outside the city walls lay the right of the rebel army, while
his left occupied the space between the walls and the river. In the rear
of the enemy's left was a position known as the Subadar's Tank. The
British occupied as an advanced post a large bazaar on the city side of
The operations of the 6th of December were simple. A demonstration was
made against the city from the bazaar, which occupied the attention of the
large force holding the town. The main body of the British were quietly
massed on its left, and, crossing three bridges over the canal, attacked
the enemy's right with impetuosity. These, cut off by the city wall from
their comrades within, were unable to stand the British onslaught and the
thunder of Peel's guns, and fled precipitately, pursued by the British for
fourteen miles along the Calpee Road. Every gun and ammunition wagon of
the mutineers on this side fell into the hands of the victors.
As the victorious British force swept along past the city, Sir Colin
Campbell detached a force under General Mansfield to attack and occupy the
position of the Subadar's Tank--which was captured after some hard
fighting. Thus the British were in a position in rear of the enemy's left.
The mutineers, seeing that their right was utterly defeated, and the
retreat of their left threatened, lost all heart, and as soon as darkness
came on, fled, a disorganized rabble, from the city they had entered as
conquerors only six days before. The cavalry started next day in pursuit,
cut up large numbers, and captured the greater part of their guns.
The threatening army of Gwalior thus beaten and scattered, and Cawnpore in
our hands, Sir Colin Campbell was able to devote his whole attention to
clearing the country in his rear, and in preparing for the great final
campaign against Lucknow, which, now that Delhi had fallen, was the
headquarters of the mutiny.
The next two months were passed in a series of expeditions by flying
columns. In some of these the Warreners took part, and both shared in the
defeats of the Sepoys and the capture of Futtyghur and Furruckabad--places
at which horrible massacres of the whites had taken place in the early
days of the mutiny. During these two months large reinforcements had
arrived; and Jung Bahadoor, Prince of Nepaul, had come down with an army
of ten thousand Ghoorkas to our aid.
On the 15th of February the tremendous train of artillery, ammunition and
stores, collected for the attack upon the city, began to cross the river;
and upon the 26th of the month the order was given for the army to move
upon the following day.
The task before it was a difficult one. From all the various points from
which the British had driven them--from Delhi, from Rohilcund, and the
Doab, from Cawnpore, Furruckabad, Futtyghur, Etawah, Allyghur, Goruckpore,
and other places--they retreated to Lucknow, and there were now collected
sixty thousand revolted Sepoys and fifty thousand irregular troops,
besides the armed rabble of the city of three hundred thousand souls.
Knowing the storm that was preparing to burst upon their heads, they had
neglected no means for strengthening their position. Great lines of
fortifications had been thrown up; enormous quantities of guns placed in
position; every house barricaded and loopholed, and the Kaiserbagh
transformed into a veritable citadel. In hopes of destroying the force
under General Sir James Outram, at the Alumbagh--which had been a thorn in
their side for so long--a series of desperate attacks had been made upon
them; but these had been uniformly defeated with heavy loss by the gallant
British force. On the 3d of March the advanced division occupied the Dil
Koosha, meeting with but slight resistance; and the commander-in-chief at
once took up his headquarters here. The next three days were spent in
making the necessary disposition for a simultaneous attack upon all sides
of the town--General Outram on one side, Sir Hope Grant upon another, Jung
Bahadoor, with his Nepaulese, on the third, and the main attack, under Sir
Colin Campbell himself, on the fourth.
Great was the excitement in the camp on the eve of this tremendous
struggle. Colonel Warrener and his sons met on the night before the
fighting was to begin.
"Well, boys," he said, after a long talk upon the prospects of the
fighting, "did you do as you talked about, and draw your pay and get it
changed into gold?"
"Most of it," Ned said; "we could not get it all; and had to pay a
tremendous rate of exchange for it."
"Here are the twenty pounds each, in gold, lads," Colonel Warrener said,
"that I told you I could get for you. Now what do you want it for? You
would not tell me at Cawnpore."
"Well, father, at Delhi there was lots of loot taken, quantities of
valuable things, and the soldiers were selling what they had got for next
to nothing. I had some lovely bracelets offered me for a few rupees, but
no one had any money in their pockets. So Dick and I determined that if we
came into another storming business, we would fill our pockets beforehand
with money. They say that the palaces, the Kaiserbagh especially, are
crowded with valuable things; and as they will be lawful loot for the
troops, we shall be able to buy no end of things."
Colonel Warrener laughed.
"There is nothing like forethought, Ned, and I have no doubt that you will
be able to pick up some good things. The soldiers attach no value to them,
and would rather have gold, which they can change for spirits, than all
the precious stones in the world. I shall be out of it, as, of course, the
cavalry will not go into the city, but will wait outside to cut off the
The fighting began with General Outram's division, which worked round the
city, and had on the 7th, 8th, and 9th to repulse heavy attacks of the
On the 9th Sir Colin Campbell advanced, took the Martinière with but
slight opposition, crossed the canal, and occupied the Secunderbagh--the
scene of the tremendous fighting on the previous advance. The Begum's
palace, in front of Bank House, was then attacked, and after very heavy
fighting, carried. Here Major Hodgson, the captor of the king of Delhi,
was mortally wounded. General Outram's force had by this time taken up a
position on the other side of the river, and this enabled him to take the
enemy's defenses in flank, and so greatly to assist the advancing party.
Day by day the troops fought their way forward; and on the 14th the
Imaumbarra, a splendid palace of the king of Oude, adjoining the
Kaiserbagh, was breached and carried. The panic-stricken defenders fled
through the court and garden into the Kaiserbagh, followed hotly by the
Sikhs, Ghoorkas, and Highlanders. Such was the terror which their
appearance excited that a panic seized also the defenders of the
Kaiserbagh, and these too fled, deserting the fortifications raised with
so much care, and the British poured into the palace. For a few minutes a
sharp conflict took place in every room, and then, the Sepoys being
annihilated, the victors fell upon the spoil. From top to bottom the
Kaiserbagh was crowded with valuable articles, collected from all parts of
the world. English furniture, French clocks and looking-glasses, Chinese
porcelain, gorgeous draperies, golden thrones studded with jewels, costly
weapons inlaid with gold, enormous quantities of jewelry--in fact, wealth
of all kinds to an almost fabulous value. The wildest scene of confusion
ensued. According to the rule in these matters, being taken by storm, the
place was lawful plunder. For large things the soldiers did not care, and
set to to smash and destroy all that could not be carried away. Some put
on the turbans studded with jewels; others hung necklaces of enormous
value round their necks, or covered their arms with bracelets. None knew
the value of the costly gems they had become possessed of; and few indeed
of the officers could discriminate between the jewels of immense value and
those which were mere worthless imitations.
As soon as the news spread that the Kaiserbagh was taken the guns fired a
royal salute in honor of the triumph; and all officers who could obtain an
hour's leave from their regiments hurried away to see the royal palace of
The Warreners were both near the spot when the news came; both were able
to get away, and met at the entrance to the palace. Already soldiers,
British and native, were passing out laden with spoil.
"What will you give me for this necklace, sir?" a soldier asked Ned.
"I have no idea what it's worth," Ned said.
"No more have I," said the soldier; "it may be glass, it may be something
else. You shall have it for a sovereign."
"Very well," Ned said; "here is one."
So onward they went, buying everything in the way of jewels offered them,
utterly ignorant themselves whether the articles they purchased were real
gems or imitation.
Penetrating into the palace, they found all was wild confusion. Soldiers
were smashing chandeliers and looking-glasses, breaking up furniture,
tumbling the contents of chests and wardrobes and caskets over the floors,
eager to find, equally eager to sell what they had found.
Bitter were the exclamations of disappointment and disgust which the
Warreners heard from many of the officers that they were unprovided with
money--for the soldiers would not sell except for cash; but for a few
rupees they were ready to part with anything. Strings of pearls, worth a
thousand pounds, were bought for a couple of rupees--four shillings;
diamond aigrettes, worth twice as much, went for a sovereign; and the
Warreners soon laid out the seventy pounds which they had between them
when they entered the palace; and their pockets and the breasts of their
coats were stuffed with their purchases, and each had a bundle in his
"I wonder," Dick said, as they made their way back, "whether we have been
fools or wise men. I have not a shadow of an idea whether these things are
only the sham jewels which dancing girls wear, or whether they are real."
"It was worth running the risk, anyhow; for if only half of them are real
they are a big fortune. Anyhow, Dick, let's hold our tongues about it.
It's no use making fellows jealous of our good luck if they turn out to be
real, or of getting chaffed out of our lives if they prove false. Let us
just stow them away till it's all over, and then ask father about them."
It was calculated that twenty thousand soldiers and camp-followers
obtained loot of more or less value, from the case of jewelry, valued at
one hundred thousand pounds, that fell into the hands of an officer, to
clocks, candelabra, and articles of furniture, carried off by the least
fortunate. The value of the treasure there was estimated at ten millions
of money at the lowest computation.
The fall of the Kaiserbagh utterly demoralized the enemy; and from that
moment they began to leave the town by night in thousands. Numbers were
cut off and slaughtered by our cavalry and artillery; but large bodies
succeeded in escaping, to give us fresh trouble in the field.
Day by day the troops fought their way from palace to palace and from
street to street. Day and night the cannon and mortar batteries thundered
against the districts of the city still uncaptured; and great fires blazed
in a dozen quarters, until gradually the resistance ceased and Lucknow was
It was not until a week after the storming of the Kaiserbagh--by which
time everything had settled down, order was restored, and the inhabitants
were, under the direction of the military authorities, engaged in clearing
away rubbish, leveling barricades, and razing to the ground a considerable
portion of the city--that Colonel Warrener and his sons met. The troops
were now all comfortably under canvas in the cantonments, and were
enjoying a well-earned rest after their labors.
"Well, boys," he said, "have you heard Warrener's Horse is to be broken
up? The officers have all been appointed to regiments, the civilians are
anxious to return to look after their own affairs. I am to go up to take
the command of a newly-raised Punjaub regiment. Dunlop goes with me as
major. Manners has been badly hit, and goes home. The greater part of the
naval brigade march down to Calcutta at once. The force will be broken up
into flying columns, for there is much to be done yet. The greater portion
of these scoundrels have got away; and there are still considerably more
than one hundred thousand of the enemy scattered in large bodies over the
country. I am going to Delhi, through Agra, with Dunlop; I accompany a
detachment of fifty irregular Punjaub horse, who are ordered down to Agra.
Then I shall go up to Meerut, and have a week with the girls; and do you
know I have seen Captain Peel and your colonel, Ned, and have got leave
for you both for a month. Then you will go down to Calcutta, Dick, and
join your ship; Ned will of course, rejoin his regiment."
The lads were delighted at the prospect of again seeing their sister and
cousin; and Dick indulged in a wild dance, expressive of joy.
"Well, boys, and how about loot; did you lay out your money?"
"We laid it out, father; but we have not the least idea whether we have
bought rubbish or not. This black bag is full of it."
So saying, Ned emptied a large handbag upon the top of a barrel which
served as a table. Colonel Warrener gave a cry of astonishment, as a great
stream of bracelets, necklaces, tiaras, aigrettes, and other ornaments,
poured out of the bag.
"Good gracious, boys! do you mean to say all these are yours?"
"Ours and yours, father; there were forty pounds of your money, and
thirty-five of ours. Do you think they are real?"
Colonel Warrener took one or two articles from the flashing heap of
diamonds, emeralds, rubies, opals, and pearls.
"I should say so," he said; "some of them are certainly. But have you any
idea what these are worth?"
"Not the least in the world," Ned said; "if they are real, though, I
suppose they are worth some thousands of pounds."
"My boys, I should say," Colonel Warrener replied, turning over the heap,
"they must be worth a hundred thousand if they are worth a penny."
The boys looked at each other in astonishment:
"Really, my boys."
"Hurrah," Dick said. "Then you can give up the service when this war is
over, father, and go home and live as a rich man; that will be glorious."
"My dear boys, the prize is yours."
"Nonsense, father!" exclaimed the boys together. And then began an
amicable contest, which was not finally concluded for many a long day.
"But what had we better do with all these things, father?" Dick said at
"We will get a small chest and put them in, boys. I will give it to the
paymaster--he is sending a lot of treasure down under a strong escort--and
will ask him to let it go down with the convoy. I will direct it to a firm
at Calcutta, and will ask them to forward it to my agent at home, to whom
I will give directions to send it to a first-class jeweler in London, to
be by him opened and valued. I will tell the Calcutta firm to insure it on
the voyage as treasure at twenty thousand pounds. Even if some of them
turn out to be false, you may congratulate each other that you are
provided for for life."
"And when do we set out, father?" Ned asked, after they had talked for
some time longer about their treasure.
"In three days' time. We shall accompany a flying column for the first two
days' march, and then strike across for Agra."
The next two days the Warreners spent in investigating the town, in
wandering through the deserted palaces, and admiring their vast extent,
and in saying good-by to their friends. A great portion of the teeming
population of Lucknow had fled, and the whole city outside the original
town was to be cleared away and laid out in gardens, so that henceforth
Lucknow would be little more than a fifth of its former size. The ruined
Residency was to be cleared of its _débris_, replanted with trees, and to
be left as a memorial of British valor. The entire district through which
Havelock's men had fought their way was to be cleared of its streets, and
the palaces only were to be left standing, to be utilized for public
purposes. The whole of the remaining male population of Lucknow was set to
work to carry out these alterations. The scene was busy and amusing, and
the change from the fierce fight, the din of cannon, and the perpetual
rattle of musketry, to the order, regularity, and bustle of work, was very
striking. Here was a party of sappers and miners demolishing a row of
houses, there thousands of natives filling baskets with rubbish and
carrying them on their heads to empty into bullock carts, whence it was
taken to fill up holes and level irregularities. Among the crowd, soldiers
of many uniforms--British infantry, Rifles, Highlanders, artillery and
cavalry, sinewy Sikhs, and quiet little Nepaulese--wandered at will or
worked in fatigue parties.
The three days past, Colonel Warrener, his sons, and Major Dunlop took
their places on horseback with the troop of irregular cavalry commanded by
Lieutenant Latham, and joined the flying column which was setting out to
attack a large body of the enemy, who were reported to be gathering again
near Furruckabad, while simultaneously other columns were leaving in other
directions, for broken at Lucknow, the rebels were swarming throughout all
Oude. The day was breaking, but the sun was not yet up, when the column
started--for in India it is the universal custom to start very early, so
as to get the greater part of the march over before the heat of the day
fairly begins--and the young Warreners were in the highest spirits at the
thought that they were on their way to see their sister and cousin, and
that their nine months of marching and fighting were drawing to a close,
for it is possible to have too much even of adventure. At ten o'clock a
halt was called at the edge of a large wood, and after preparing breakfast
there was a rest in the shade until four in the afternoon, after which a
two hours' march took them to their halting-place for the night. Tents
were pitched, fires lighted, and then, dinner over, they made merry
groups, who sat smoking and chatting until nine o'clock, when the noise
ceased, the fires burned down, and all was quiet until the _réveillé_
sounded at four o'clock, after which there was an hour of busy work,
getting down, rolling up, and packing the tents and baggage in the wagons.
Another day's march and halt, and then Colonel Warrener and his friends
said good-by to their acquaintances in the column, and started with the
troop of cavalry for Agra. Unincumbered by baggage, and no longer obliged
to conform their pace to that of the infantry, they trotted gayly along,
and accomplished forty miles ere they halted for the night near a village.
The country through which they had passed had an almost deserted
appearance. Here and there a laborer was at work in the fields, but the
confusion and alarm created by the bodies of mutineers who had swept over
the country, and who always helped themselves to whatever pleased them,
had created such a scare that the villagers for the most part had forsaken
their abodes, and driven their animals, with all their belongings, to the
edge of jungles or other unfrequented places, there to await the
termination of the struggle.
At the end of the day's journey they halted in front of a great mosque-
like building with a dome, the tomb of some long dead prince. The doors
stood open, and Colonel Warrener proposed that they should take up their
quarters for the night in the lofty interior instead of sleeping in the
night air, for although the temperature was still high, the night dews
were the reverse of pleasant. It was evident by the appearance of the
interior that it had been used as the headquarters and storehouse of some
body of the enemy, for a considerable quantity of stores, military
saddles, harness, coils of rope, and barrels of flour were piled against
the wall. A space was soon swept, and a fire lighted on the floor. Outside
the troopers dismounted, some proceeded to a wood at a short distance off
to fetch fuel, others took the horses to a tank or pond to drink. It was
already getting dusk, and inside the great domed chamber it was nearly
"The fire looks cheerful," Colonel Warrener said, as, after seeing that
the men had properly picketed their horses, and had made all their
arrangements, the little group of officers returned to it. A trooper had
already prepared their meal, which consisted of kabobs, or pieces of
mutton--from a couple of sheep, which they had purchased at a village
where they halted in the morning--a large bowl of boiled rice, and some
chupatties, or griddle cakes; a pannikin of tea was placed by each; and
spreading their cloaks on the ground, they set to with the appetite of
travelers. Dinner over, a bottle of brandy was produced from one of Major
Dunlop's holsters, the pannikin was washed out, and a supply of fresh
water brought in, pipes and cheroots were lighted, and they prepared for a
"I am very sorry Manners is not here," Dick said; "it would have been so
jolly to be all together again. However, it is a satisfaction to know that
his wound is doing well, and that he is likely to be all right in a few
"Yes," Colonel Warrener said, "but I believe that he will have to leave
the service. His right leg will always be shorter than the left."
"I don't suppose he will mind that," Ned said. "I should think he must
have had enough of India to last for his life."
"Mr. Latham," Dick said presently to the officer in command of the
cavalry, "will you tell us your adventures? We know all about each other's
So they sat and talked until ten o'clock, when Mr. Latham went round to
see that the sentries were properly placed and alert. When he returned the
door was shut, to keep out the damp air, and the whole party, rolling
themselves in their cloaks, and using their saddles for pillows, laid up
for the night. Dick was some time before he slept. His imagination was
active; and when he at last dozed off, he was thinking what they had best
do were they attacked by the enemy.
It was still dark when with a sudden start the sleeping party in the tomb
awoke and leaped to their feet. For a moment they stood bewildered, for
outside was heard on all sides the crack of volleys of musketry, wild
yells and shouts, and the trampling of a large body of cavalry.
"Surprised!" exclaimed the colonel. "The sentries must have been asleep!"
There was a rush to the door, and the sight that met their eyes showed
them the extent of the disaster. The moon was shining brightly, and by her
light they could see that a large body of rebel cavalry had fallen upon
the sleeping troopers, while the heavy musketry fire showed that a strong
body of infantry were at work on the other side of the mosque. Lieutenant
Latham rushed down the steps with his sword drawn, but fell back dead shot
through the heart.
"Back, back!" shouted Colonel Warrener. "Let us sell our lives here!"
A DESPERATE DEFENSE.
In an instant the door was closed and bolted, and the four set to work to
pile barrels and boxes against it. Not a word was spoken while this was
going on. By the time they had finished the uproar without had changed its
character; the firing had ceased, and the triumphant shouts of the
mutineers showed that their victory was complete. Then came a loud
thundering noise at the door.
"We have only delayed it a few minutes," Colonel Warrener said. "We have
fought our fight, boys, and our time has come. Would to God that I had to
"Look, father," Dick said, "there is a small door there. I noticed it last
night. No doubt there is a staircase leading to the terrace above. At any
rate, we may make a good fight there."
"Yes," Major Dunlop said, "we may fight it out to the last on the stairs.
Run, Dick, and see."
Dick found, as he supposed, that from the door a narrow winding staircase
led to the terrace above, from which the dome rose far into the air. The
stairs were lit by an occasional narrow window. He was thinking as he ran
upstairs of the ideas that had crossed his brain the night before.
"It is all right," he said, as he came down again. "Look, father, if we
take up barrels and boxes, we can make barricades on the stairs, and
defend them for any time almost."
"Excellent," the colonel said. "To work. They will be a quarter of an hour
breaking in the door. Make the top barricade first, a few feet below the
Each seized a box or barrel, and hurried up the stairs. They had a longer
time for preparation than they expected, for the mutineers, feeling sure
of their prey, were in no hurry, and finding how strong was the door,
decided to sit down and wait until their guns would be up to blow it in.
Thus the defenders of the tomb had an hour's grace, and in that time had
constructed three solid barricades. Each was placed a short distance above
an opening for light, so that while they themselves were in darkness,
their assailants would be in the light. They left a sufficient space at
the top of each barricade for them to scramble over, leaving some spare
barrels on the stairs above it to fill up the space after taking their
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