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reply. On our way down we were joined by a party of three or four officers of the 10th, who had been rescued by a few Sikhs of that regiment and hurried away out of danger when the revolt broke out on the night of the 3rd. They had seized a boat and waited for some time in the hope of picking up other stragglers; but when none appeared, had cast off, falling in with us, as has been said, near Singhirampur. They told us that they had been fired upon and driven off by their own men, and owed their lives to the four Sikhs who had rescued them. Of the fate of their brother officers, from whom they got separated in the confusion, they could give us no information, and concluded that they must have fallen victims to the fury of the rebels.
On reaching the Ramganga, the boats were fastened on the low-lying banks facing the frowning heights of Kusumkhor on the opposite shore, there to await Hardeo Buksh's answer, and to take counsel as to what we had better do next. As Hardeo Buksh lived fifteen miles from where we were, some precious hours were lost. During the interval we watched the movements of the Kusumkhor villagers, who were assembled in considerable numbers, actively engaged in making preparations to oppose our progress. The delay sorely tried the patience of the party, for every moment lost multiplied our dangers and made the chances of escape more difficult, if not impossible; and the majority chafed under the ordeal and raised loud protests against the
folly of sacrificing the chance of reaching Cawnpore and trusting to Hardeo Buksh and his undisciplined villagers for protection.
Probyn, to whose safety Hardeo Buksh was pledged, remained firm, as he relied implicitly on the promise of the Rajput chief, and he counselled the party to be patient and not reject the protection offered, but to join him and proceed up the river to his garhi, and wait there till the storm blew over, when we could return to Fatehgarh. Feeling, however, ran high, and the recollection of the terrible massacres that had been perpetrated recently in all directions had shaken our confidence. The fugitives, who numbered nearly 200, refused to believe that Hardeo Buksh could be trusted, if attacked by disciplined sepoys, to risk his all in our defence, and, with the exception of about 40, elected to proceed to Cawnpore, preferring to face the dangers rather than abandon the certainty of finding safety there. (A few words in anticipation will tell the tale of the fate of those unhappy souls, who, after encountering much difficulty and danger, succeeded in reaching Cawnpore, only, alas! to fall into the hands of the Nana. He captured the boats opposite Bithur, and conveyed the fugitives prisoners to Cawnpore, where he placed them in confinement in the Savada Koti, almost within sight of Wheeler's intrenchment. It is said that the safety of their lives was solemnly promised by the notorious ruffian
and he massacred every soul in cold blood, casting the bodies of the dead and dying into a well in the compound. On the recapture of the station by General Havelock the bodies were found and exhumed.)
before the party surrendered, place, and was in consequence then unassailable, and in the dry season was capable of offering considerable resistance to undisciplined matchlockmen, but was of no value against guns and trained troops. The accommodation available within the enclosure was poor and limited, affording no comfort and but little shelter to our party. A couple of rusty old ship's carronades of ancient design and a supply of ammunition were unearthed from remote fields and mounted in front of Hardeo Buksh's dwelling. To judge from their appearance, they dangerous to the users than they would have proved to an enemy; nevertheless, the prestige of guns was great. top (gun) possessed a moral value which was not to be despised. It was dreaded by the sepoy and the rabble
To return to my narrative. After our separation we few followed the fortunes of Probyn and trekked up the Ramganga, a small stream capable of navigation by boats of light draught only the passage, therefore, was slow and tedious. On arrival at Dharampur we were met by Hardeo Buksh, and by him escorted to the garhi (intrenched fort), where in times of danger the chief could muster 500 men or more of his retainers in defence of the stronghold. The sight of the defences was by no means reassuring. They consisted of an irregular low bund, which in times of flood kept the waters out of the
BACK IN FATEHGARH.
A very short stay sufficed to discourage the party, and the conviction grew that Hardeo Buksh had undertaken more than he could perform, although the brave Thakur put on a firm front and determined to meet his fate like a true Rajput. The discomfort experienced by the ladies and children, coupled with the growing feeling of insecurity, developed dissatisfaction, and numerous were the regrets expressed at the terrible blunder that had been committed in not risking the passage to Cawnpore. We had
thus, as we thought, sacrificed certain safety, and placed ourselves in hopeless jeopardy in miserable Dharampur. Happily, at this juncture, the gratifying and surprising intelligence was brought to us that the 10th were holding out loyally, and that all was quiet at Fatehgarh. This was indeed a totally unlooked - for turn of events. Probyn at once determined to return to the station, to ascertain in person the true state of affairs. He was joined by the three refugee officers of the 10th. From them we after
wards learnt how it came about that the regiment was held together after the outbreak on the night of the 3rd, which drove the residents forth upon their disastrous voyage to Cawnpore and compelled our fellowfugitives to fly for their lives.
It will be remembered that up to the time the treasure was ordered to be removed the sepoys had behaved admirably, but that the sight of the rupees had proved too much for the men and led to the midnight disturbance. That critical occasion had demonstrated the stuff the colonel was made of. In spite of the threatened violence of the men, he refused to believe that the day was lost, and, by an extraordinary display of tact and reckless courage, seconded by Captain Vibart of the 2nd Bengal Cavalry and the senior officers of the regiment, he succeeded in rallying the native officers and veterans, and by the promise of placing the treasure under the guard of the men pacified the younger soldiers and restored order. Next day, at the request of the colonel, the entire regiment renewed their oath of allegiance stipulating, however, that their past deeds were to be overlooked, and that they were not to be required to fire upon their brother sepoys. This was a strange condition. The colonel, however, had no alternative, and wisely yielded, trusting to good fortune to save the station from being invaded by the mutineers, and thus to weather the storm.
Order had followed, and Fatehgarh had remained quiet.
On Probyn's arrival all seemed tranquil; but the conditions under which the sepoys were held together were unsatisfactory in the extreme, and his long experience of, and insight into, the native character convinced him that the security of the station was delusive. The hope upon which the officers relied, that Fatehgarh might escape invasion, was that of a drowning man clutching at a straw. Was it indeed so sure that they were safe from attack? And could they, in the event of such a catastrophe, count on the repeated success of the tactics which had previously turned the 9th from their purpose? The sequel will show.
Probyn returned to us confirmed in his opinion that Dharampur was safer than the station. It was obvious that the sepoys, if unmolested, would remain staunch. If they followed their bhai-bands (brothers) and joined the majority, Fatehgarh was no place to be in. British rule no longer extending beyond the range of the sepoy guns, the district did not require Probyn's presence. therefore joined his family and friends, resolving by all means in his power to advise his party to remain at Dharampur, in spite of its discomforts and drawbacks, as being the safer haven of the two. His surprise may be imagined when, on approaching the garhi, he found the party mounted on horses and elephants on their way to Fatehgarh. Nothing would induce them to alter their purpose. He expostulated and pleaded in vain. Their resolu
tion was fixed; and all, with the exception of Probyn and his family, and Edwards, the fugitive collector of Badaon, took their departure, under the delusive impression that Fatehgarh could not possibly be more unsafe than Dharampur. They were amazed at Probyn's folly and infatuation in not being able to see what was so obvious to them. To Probyn the parting from his friends under such circumstances was most distressing. He sat down dejected and sorrowful, his head buried between his two hands, and his elbows on his knees, absorbed in his own sad thoughts.
The officers who had returned were promptly placed under arrest by the colonel on their arrival for desertion. This gave the old native officers an opportunity to display their goodwill and loyalty. They repaired to the colonel, and interceded for the luckless culprits, pleading the necessity for their presence with the men, and the impolicy of depriving the regiment of their leaders when officers were few and their want urgent. The colonel reluctantly yielded,
and they were permitted to return to duty. Jack Sepoy scored in the estimation of his commandant.
On our arrival from Dharampur we were gratified by the aspect of affairs. Perfect peace prevailed. The bungalows that we thought had been committed to the flames stood intact. Everything looked reassuring. The sepoys were doing duty admirably. The jail was guarded as before, and the lakhs of treasure reposed in safety on the parade. There was nothing to impress us with the gloom and distrust which Probyn professed to feel. Our spirits revived under the soothing influence, and we began to indulge in the hope that the worst was over and that Fatehgarh would survive the convulsion.
The residents returned to their deserted houses, retiring at night, as a precautionary measure, to the shelter of the fort wall.
We all slept in the open on the high river - bank, near the residence of Major Robertson, the superintendent of the gun-carriage factory.
THE 10TH MUTINY AT LAST.
As the days passed our hopes grew stronger, until the news reached us that the 41st Native Infantry, who had mutinied at Sitapur in Oudh, and had murdered their officers and the residents, were marching on Fatehgarh on their way to Delhi. They were said to be two marches from the station. This unlooked for intelligence
froze our blood. We could not but remember with alarm the conditions under which the 10th were kept together. The intrepid colonel, still hopeful and undaunted, rose once more to the occasion, inspiring confidence by the example of his untiring energy. He at once set about destroying the bridge of boats, and sunk every boat
for miles on either side of the river. The sepoys executed his orders with cheerful promptitude; and the 41st, hearing this, changed their course, and chose a road many miles higher up the river.
The news of this gave us fresh hope, and we thought that they would march straight on to Delhi, as the 9th had done, and leave Fatehgarh in peace. We soon discovered, however, that after crossing the river the 41st had negotiated with the Nawab of Farukhabad to place him on the gaddi (throne) as ruler of the district, and to drive the British out of the station. They had also opened a correspondence with the 10th in order to induce them to rise and destroy us and divide the treasure with them.
On entering the city of Farukhabad, and proclaiming the Nawab ruler, the 41st called upon the 10th to join them. The latter, apprehending the loss of the treasure, which they had regarded as their own, resolved not to be outdone. They therefore rose during the night in anticipation,. released the prisoners in the jail, and, warning off their officers, who slept amongst them on the parade, prepared to quit the station with the treasure loaded on bullocks and ponies. The valiant efforts of the devoted colonel proved unavailing to prevent the outbreak. His men at last forsook him and went the way others had gone before them, refraining, however, from molesting the officers.
MY ADVENTUROUS ESCAPE.
I got separated from the others on the night of the mutiny, and was a fugitive hiding in a neighbouring village. I had foolishly disregarded the warnings of my brother, and instead of assembling with the others in the fort at night had slept in our house, unconscious of the momentous events that had transpired on the paradeground. As was usual with me, I had risen early in the morning, and was amusing myself stalking a porpoise in the river when my brother's old bearer, who was left as guardian of the house, shouted out to me in great alarm, in the familiar tone of an old servant, impatient at my recklessness and
indifference, "Ache shikar sujhi hai: Paltan bigar gai: deko tumarhi shikar ne ho jai!" (Fine sport you have found: the regiment has risen: see that you do not become an object of sport!)
I rushed up the bank in hot haste and asked the old man what I had better do. He hurried me indoors and made me throw off my clothes, disguising me in native attire. I then hastened to the iron safe, took out all the cash and valuables, and buried them in a heap of indigo-seed refuse, together with two rifles, and pointed out the spot to the old man. I also wrapped 200 rupees round my waist, and secreted as many as