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him by night, and placed a mark over the grave for its future identification.
The death of Major Robertson, though not unexpected, seemed to sever the last link that made life bearable for me, and cast a deep gloom over my spirits. I felt as if I were the last of that great company of Englishmen who but a little over two months before had been the proud representatives of the ruling race, now a homeless fugitive, with life not secure for a single hour. While Robertson lived I used to visit him at every opportunity, doing what little I could to soothe and cheer his spirits. Death took even that consolation from me, making my life a doubly oppressive solitude. I now felt the loss of the chance I had had to accompany Probyn, who had left Dharampur in a boat for Cawnpore only a few days before, but I could not abandon Robertson while he lived.
The news of the occupation of Cawnpore by General Have lock had been confirmed, and Hardeo Buksh, taking advantage of it and of the high flood of the river, arranged to send Probyn and his party down by
boat, entrusting their safe convoy to a brother Thakur, Dhanna Singh. This man had deeply compromised himself in looting and desolating the villages in the Doab, and he seized this opportunity of condoning his guilt and reaping a reward. He gladly accepted the charge; the voyage was safely accomplished, and the Thakur not only received a free pardon but the anticipated reward as well.
Before leaving Dharampur Probyn had written to Robertson informing him of the proposed arrangements, and that a dooly for his conveyance would be sent up to fetch him. Poor Robertson, however, was too far gone to attempt the journey. The dooly therefore returned without him, and I refused to leave him. General Havelock's success had put fresh hope into. the hearts of my protectors, and the one consolation that buoyed up my own spirits was the necessity imposed on the Thakurs of keeping me alive and delivering me safely up to the British camp when our troops returned to Fatehgarh. On this depended their own safety and the retention of their villages.
IN HIDING IN THE CANE-FIELDS.
Soon after Robertson's death the sepoys crossed over from Fatehgarh in strong bodies to extort revenue from the Zemindars. I could not help feeling what a mercy it was that Robertson had been delivered in time to escape being murdered. These incursions
rendered my life more unsafe than ever, and added to all my troubles, which did not end till the November following, nearly four months after, when Fatehgarh was reoccupied and I was safely conveyed into the camp. I was now forced to seek safety
sugar cane fields, and to
shift my position every night to avoid being betrayed and captured by the sepoys who infested the villages and rendered it extremely uncomfortable and unsafe for me. During the day-time I lived hidden in the crops, where I could be completely concealed, and at night I resorted to lonely islands, covered with jhow jangal. At this juncture Chunilal Bramin, an old jemadar of my brother's, appeared on the scene. He had heard of the survival of a couple of Europeans, and came over disguised as a fakir to find out who they were. Great was his joy to discover his master's younger brother safe and alive. He immediately set about alleviating my condition. Better food was procured for me, and he brought me a few articles of clothing, such as he could buy in the village-for up to the present I had had nothing more than the solitary towel and a piece of old tat (canvas), which I used as a carpet to lie upon. Chunilal also engaged men to watch the crossings (ghats) on the river, so as to give us timely warning whenever the sepoys crossed. I firmly believe that, but for these precautions, no effort on the part of the Thakurs would have availed to save my life.
The discomfort and the terrible heat which I endured in the cane-fields were simply indescribable. To keep my head cool in the burning sun I had to plaster it with a thick coat of mud. My shoulders and back, however, became sore from blisters, till Chunilal procured a black country blanket,
which I used as a sunshade by fastening it to the tall canes overhead, thereby overhead, thereby obtaining some relief.
To add to my troubles I discovered, to my horror and disgust, that the tattered rag of tat which did duty for a rug was swarming with vermin, and that my head also was alive with them. Every effort to get rid of these filthy tormentors failed, until a lucky accident discovered a complete remedy. Whilst smoking I captured one, and by way of experiment dropped a little tobacco juice on him. To my great delight this did for him. I then and there soaked some tobacco leaves and prepared a strong decoction, with which I liberally smeared my head. Next morning I bathed my head in the river, and found to my infinite relief that the pests were completely destroyed. was never troubled with them again. I have often wondered since those days that sunstroke did not end my career, and that I escaped the loss of my reason.
One morning to my surprise Chunilal appeared at my hidingplace armed with a musket and sword, together with a few cartridges, which he had bought from a villager who had looted a stray sepoy. Equipped with these, I felt a sense of security to which I had long been a stranger. I no longer feared to encounter hostile villagers, and my determination not to be taken alive by the merciless sepoys was stronger than ever.
I will not weary the reader further with details of my monotonous mode of life during
that perilous time passed in hiding, never sure of my safety for a day, either at the hands of man or from the fangs of snakes and the attacks of wild animals. Most marvellous to relate, with all the exposure, peril, privation, and suffering, my health never broke down for a moment.
My place of concealment was a few miles distant only from Fatehgarh, and I well remember hearing one morning the unusual booming of guns from that direction, which I instinctively felt meant the preparation of some ghastly deed. I learnt subsequently from an eye-witness that on that day the sepoys massacred the unhappy women and children whom they had captured from our boat, together with those unfortunate native Christians whom they had found concealed in the villages; and my informant added that what the guns had spared the swords of the savages finished. The remains were dragged to a well near the scene of the massacre and thrown into it. (I may here mention that although this well was known to thousands who were spectators of the foul deed, not a soul brought it to the notice of the authorities when Fatehgarh was reoccupied. The discovery was made quite accidentally by Gavin Jones and myself one evening whilst strolling together and talking about past events. happened to meet an old man whom I questioned about the massacre, asking him if he knew what became of the bodies of the victims. Hearing me talk
in his own gawari, he forgot all caution, and told us that he could show us where they were buried. Recollecting himself suddenly, however, he became reticent, and professed to know nothing of the affair, fearful lest he should be the means of establishing his own misdeeds— for few had escaped being implicated in plunder, or worse, during those days of anarchy. I succeeded in pacifying his alarm, however, and after our promising that he would not be mentioned in the matter, he guided us to the spot and showed us the well into which the bodies had been flung. The matter was immediately reported by us to Mr Power, the magistrate, who had the well examined, and the fragments of several bodies were exhumed in a very advanced stage of decomposition, the ropes with which they had been bound still clinging to their bones.)
To resume the thread of my narrative, I must go back and relate an incident which was a crisis in my adventures, and might well have ended them disastrously. I have recounted my wanderings and concealment for safety in the fields of jhow and jangal. On this particular night I happened to be perched on a machan in the middle of a jawar field. (A machan is a raised covered shelter used by villagers for watching their crops.) Whilst resting here in fancied security, great was my astonishment and alarm to see an army of over three thousand sepoys hurrying past within fifty yards of me, all fully armed. I was in an
awful state of terror and perplexity. I did not dare to get down and run for dear life; and to be discovered meant death. I sat closely wrapped in my black blanket, and in order not to attract attention, made a pretence of driving birds, and imitated as well as I could the cries of the natives. It was a most anxious half-hour. Happily for me, the sepoys moved on in such haste that they seemed to be possessed with
the one idea of placing as great a distance as possible between themselves and my position. How thankful I felt when the last of them passed out of sight I cannot put into words! It afterwards transpired that the fugitives were the remnant of a force which Sir Colin Campbell had dispersed with great loss after an engagement on the Kali Naddi, and they were flying as if pursued by the avenging goras (British soldiers).
SAFE AGAIN IN FATEHGARH.
cherished desires. They were praised for their loyalty and humanity, and reaped a substantial reward, their past misdeeds being overlooked and condoned.
This was the last serious The Thakurs had gained their adventure I encountered. few days later came the welcome news of the occupation of Fatehgarh. Anarchy was at an end, and the entire country at once settled down and became as safe and quiet as if the mutiny had never occurred. Chunilal lost not a moment in making preparations to convey me to the station, and the Thakurs were most assiduous in rendering every assistance. A fine suit of Hindustani clothing was soon forthcoming, and my head was crowned with a flowing pagri that would have done justice to an emperor. A finely caparisoned horse was led forth, on which I was mounted, and, followed by the Thakurs of Karhar and Baramow, with a crowd of their retainers, was conveyed in triumph to the British camp, to be presented to the General. It was a novel experience to me to be triumphantly escorted thus by men whose sole merit lay in having spared my life.
Shortly before I left Karhar I had received news from my brother Emery, who had despatched a faithful old bearer disguised as a fakir with a short note enclosed in a quill about an inch long, sealed at both ends, which the man carried in his mouth, so as to be able to swallow it if closely pressed by the rebels-and to avoid detection, which meant death. He was also verbally instructed to make all inquiries about us, and when he heard that a saheb had escaped and was in hiding at Karhar, he sought me out and found me in a lonely field. How gratified I was to hear of the safety of my father and mother! My poor brother in the Delhi Bank had fallen a victim to the massacre there, but Emery had escaped from
the district and reached Agra in safety. I sent Ganesh back with a reply, briefly relating all that had transpired, which the old man faithfully delivered. In camp at Fatehgarh I had the great and unexpected gratification of meeting not only my brother Emery, but also my friend and comrade, Gavin Jones, who, with myself, were the only survivors of the garri
son. How can I describe the joy that filled my heart that day at regaining my liberty after the existence I had led in the swamps and jangal of Karhar, where my life was worth a day's purchase; and now, in amazing contrast to the past, here was I once more restored to comfort and security, in the society of my brother and friend!
THE FATE OF MY COMPANIONS.
Gavin Jones had much to tell me of all that he had experienced after we were separated on the capture of our boat off Singhirampur. I learnt from him that he was wounded whilst labouring with the others to push off the boat, and seeing no hope of saving his life, he had sprung into that which the sepoys were boarding, with the determination to sell his life dearly. Seizing a musket and going astern, he was just in time to see the thatched cover of the enemy's boat lift, displaying within a crowd of sepoys. Without waiting to shoulder his musket, and being within a couple of yards of the man who had lifted the thatch, he levelled it at his breast and fired, bringing him down, with the cover on him. Having emptied his musket, he found it necessary to retreat for fear of falling into the hands of the enemy. Thereupon he threw away the musket, and rushing for the front jumped off, with the idea that, if shot in the water, he would be spared further agony, if not killed out
right, by drowning. In rushing out of the boat his eyes caught sight of a gourd, which he instinctively seized, and dived off, making for deep water, and thus got clear of the enemy's fire.
It was singular to find, on comparing notes, that we were both actuated by similar feelings. Neither of us thought of escaping with life. Our first and only impulse was to avoid being captured and enduring torture and death at the hands of those inhuman ruffians. We also felt that, if hit in the water, our end would be quick and comparatively painless. But as we cleared immediate danger, our thoughts naturally shaped themselves to circumstances, and we felt that if we could but overtake Colonel Smith's boat we might yet be safe. It will be remembered how I was forced to give up the attempt; whereas Jones, pushing on for dear life, came up with the boat as she lay fast aground, within sight of where we were in our extremity. He reached it thoroughly exhausted and benumbed