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comparatively easy to obtain information respecting them. We are not now concerned with the second epoch mentioned, but with regard to the first we speak feelingly, remembering that the early part of our own literary career is strewn with the wrecks of no less than three completed works of fiction dealing with the Mutiny, while others, unfortunately for the paper-trade, never advanced beyond the stage of mere projection. Under these circumstances we are able to reply with a certain amount of authority, that to the best of our knowledge we, at any rate, were not actuated by either of the motives suggested. As is probably the case with the majority of those in like plight with us, it was rather that the events of the time seemed to provide every element of romance that could be desired in a story. Valour and heroism, cruelty and treachery, sharp agony and long endurance, satiated vengence and bloodthirsty hatred, were all present, while the men of that day, from John Lawrence draining the Punjab of its last soldier and last rupee, and maintaining his rule unimpaired by the mere force of his own personality and that of his subordinates, to the humblest Eurasian clerk casting aside the pen to seize the rifle, had something titanic in them, something that recalled older and stronger ages than our own.

That the Mutiny should loom large in English fiction does not, therefore, seem matter for surprise, but it appears somewhat strange to us who look back upon it to note the length of time which elapsed before its "value" (we use the word in its dramatic sense) was perceived. Those were not days in which "shilling shockers" dealing with the events of a projected campaign, and written, ap


parently, by persons endued with the spirit of prophecy, were brought out almost as soon as war was declared, and yet there were not wanting even at that time up-todate writers who knew how to utilise the flowing tide of popular excitement for their own advantage. A glance at the columns of the newspapers of 1858 and 1859 will show the truth of this. Before Lucknow had been reluctantly evacuated, and while the blood-stains were still wet in the slaughter-house at Cawnpore, we find, side by side with advertisements offering family mourning on special terms, "in consequence of the late deplorable events in India," announcements of songs dealing with those very events. The titles of "Delhi," "The Highland Rescue," "Jessie's Dream," "The Havelock March," tell their own tale, and so too does "The Righteous Sword," a little later,a tale somewhat terribly illustrated in this case by a letter in the same journal from an officer who had been present at the fall of Delhi, of which he gives an account, and while rejoicing that all the townsmen found in the city were bayoneted, expresses regret that the women and children were allowed to escape. the same time appear the inevitable books and pamphlets written by the people who know all about everything, demonstrating causes of the rebellion, and the methods by which it ought to have been prevented or stamped out as soon as it arose. Papers in the various magazines come next, dealing with different aspects of Indian life, history, and character, but all ending with references to the late troubles, and then the turn of the artist arrives. Sir John Tenniel's cartoon, "The British Lion's Vengeance,"




had appeared in 'Punch' in 1857, but in the course of the next year the national excitement had penetrated to the Royal Academy and the provincial exhibitions. Pictures, allegorical, descriptive, or fanciful, abound, and are noticed by the Press indulgently, for the sake of their subject, even when enthusiasm is impossible. It is otherwise with the lengthy and substantial poems which follow, in company with the narratives, diaries, or reminiscences of survivors. "An Escape from Gwalior," or "The Experiences of an Officer in the Rohilcunde Campaign," may be tolerated, even welcomed, but it is necessary to remind would-be Macaulays and Campbells that something more than patriotic fervour and a great subject is needed to make a poet.

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Still we find no use made of the Mutiny in fiction. There were writers of short stories before Mr Kipling and even, although it is heresy to say so, before the late M. Guy de Maupassant-but, perhaps from a sense of the awfulness of the theme, they do not seem to have regarded the Indian troubles as a fitting subject for their art. The pages of Household Words,' which reflect with remarkable clearness the mind of the day, contain many articles relating to India, which are rendered specially prominent in the indexes, but no fiction dealing with the subject. It is true that in a series of papers called "Wanderings in India," some of the anecdotes related are so exceedingly ben trovato as to raise a doubt as to their entire authenticity; but we cannot for this reason stamp the series as a work of fiction, any more than its lively predecessor, Grenville Murray's 'Roving Englishman' sketches, or than the Reminiscences to which

we have already alluded at the outset of this article.

The first novel that we have been able to discover in which the Mutiny is made a feature is 'Maurice Dering,' written by the author of the better known 'Guy Livingstone,' and published in 1864. There is an air of breaking new ground in the words with which the writer introduces the subject, about the middle of the second of his two volumes, and yet the horrors of seven years before scarcely seem to have passed away into history, as would be the case at our own period of the century:

"Has any one of us forgotten the evil spring, when there swept over this country of ours a blast from the East? . . . Have we forgotten how, with each successive mail, the wrath and the horror grew wilder; till the sluggish Anglo-Saxon nature became, as it were, possessed by a devil, and through the length and breadth of there went up one awful cry for vengeance?"

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The episodes to which these words serve as a prelude are not such as to belie the terms of their introduction. The author deals with events which, as he says, did not find their way into newspapers and official reports, but which happened all the same, and were known to every man who took part in the stern work of putting down the Mutiny. The hero, whose fiancée has been foully murdered with her family, under every circumstance of horror, during his absence in England, returns to India determined to avenge her, and executes his purpose on every native whom he meets with arms in his hands. His vengeance culminates in the slaughter in cold blood of a number of fugitive sepoys, driven to bay in a small temple, who had asked for quarter and had been refused it, and the writer can find nothing to which

to compare the butchery but the "slaughter grim and great" which avenged the murder of Hypatia. After such scenes, the orthodox happy ending is not to be anticipated for the novel, and we leave Maurice Dering still in India, a lonely man, marked off from his kind by his experiences, drowning in constant work the memory of the past, and finding his sole distraction in the slaying of big game.

It is in many ways a matter for regret that Charles Kingsley's days of novel-writing ended before the Mutiny, and yet we may be allowed to doubt whether he could ever have done justice to his own powers in a story of that terrible time. If he wrote 'Hypatia' with his heart's blood, if his agony of indignation and pity for the victims of the Spaniards communicates itself irresistibly to the reader of Westward Ho !' even to-day, how could he have brought himself to write about events so much nearer to his own time and heart? He felt them too intensely to work them successfully into fiction. He could write of the Crimean War, deeply as its mingled glory and disaster affected him, but he could as soon have founded a novel on the tragedy of his young brother's death on board the fever-stricken ship in Torres Straits as on the woes of the women and children whose blood seemed for a time to blot heaven itself from his view. And thus the field was left for some years to his disciple (so named by the public, not by the master), the author of the book which we have just been describing. It is probable that other novels dealing with the subject were published during the sixties, but they have not survived to our day, and the next writer on our list is Charles Kingsley's brother Henry, that

erratic genius and most unequal of novelists. 'Stretton' was published in 1869, when its author was approaching the sad period of decay in which his powers were ultimately to flicker out; but the part of the book which is laid in India shows no signs of failing strength.


It was characteristic of Henry Kingsley's genius that his insight into life and character was not an abiding quality. It came in flashes, and the labour of connecting these isolated visions into a coherent whole became more and more severe as the years rolled on. In his earlier works the joints are managed neatly, while in the books written towards the close of his life the flashes of insight are few and far between, and the intervening gaps are filled in with irrelevant matter, with absurdity, sometimes even with buffoonery. From patchwork of this kind the latter part, at any rate, of 'Stretton' is almost entirely free, although we perceive the signs of the approaching end in the author's pathetic confession at the clusion that the characters, dear as they had been to him, had passed into Shadowland for ever, leaving with him only the hero of one of his earlier novels and the heroine of another. And yet the characters in this particular book are worthy of a better fate. We must confess to preferring Jim Mordaunt above even the author's favourite Charles Ravenshoe, and some of the subsidiary personages, notably Miss Eleanor and her Dean, live in the mind as types. It is useless to deny that as a work of information Stretton' is not faultless, although there are signs that the writer relied largely for his facts on Sir G. O. Trevelyan's monograph, 'Cawnpore,' which for some occult reason was described the other day as

a "story" by one of the literary papers. As a picture of life in a world of Henry Kingsley's own it might pass, but we fail to recognise in it either the England or the India that we know. "Fantastic" as the Mutiny time may have been, in the author's own phrase, we can scarcely accept the Rajah and the Nawab, or even Eddy Evans and the unfortunate Allan, as possible, or indeed probable, characters. But after all, what a grand book it is! We see the scenes as the author saw them, in the vivid touches of colour which he loved, — Roland in his scarlet and gold, riding at the head of his troop into the dusky mass of mutinous sepoys; the Rajah in his green and gold and white, waving the blood-stained handkerchief at the English officers as he leaves the messroom; dandy little Eddy stepping out into the sunshine bareheaded in his whiteand-blue uniform, carrying the flag of truce. Many episodes also there are which stand out boldly in the memory, the gathering in the ante-room of the Secretary for War before Roland's departure for India, the story of the faithful moonshee who lost his life on account of his services to the English, the night of horror on which the Mutiny broke out at Belpore. The earlier chapters of the book may, and we fear must, sink into oblivion, but no one who has read the later portion can altogether forget it.

If Henry Kingsley trusted chiefly to his vivid imagination for local colour when he wrote 'Stretton,' the same cannot be said of Colonel Meadows Taylor, whose novel of the Mutiny, 'Seeta,' appeared in 1872. The reputation of the author and his extensive knowledge of the country of which he writes give us a pleasant feeling of security-a confidence that


whatever information we may pick up from him (with the exception of his barbarous method of spelling native names) is so much clear gain. A distinct novelty is introduced in this case by his selection of a heroine. Cyril Brandon, an ideal official, marries Seeta, a lovely Hindu widow, according to native rites, and introduces her into the society of the station of Noorpoor. Her reception by the station ladies is described at some length, as are the difficulties encountered by Brandon from his English relatives, his superior officers, and the heads of the caste to which his wife belongs. There is a villain in the form of an ex-sepoy named Azrael Pandé, whose life is proof against all attempts to kill him, and this man, as well a rebellious native prince, is in love with Seeta. When the Mutiny breaks out, the Brandons with their friends seek refuge in the fort at Noorpoor (Agra ?), and Seeta dons male attire and rides and fights, as her Rajput ancestresses had done in their day, at her husband's side. The successive efforts of Azrael Pandé and the Nawab to obtain possession of her, either by force or treachery, are frustrated, and the reader is beginning to anticipate Seeta's conversion to Christianity, and a long and happy life for her with Brandon, when she is mortally wounded while giving the alarm during a sudden attack. This sudden and violent ending to Brandon's difficulties strikes us as akin to the action of the player who upsets the chessboard because he can see no way of winning; and our resentment is not disarmed by the hero's subsequent marriage, with the approval of all his relations, to the English girl in whom he had been mildly interested before making the acquaintance of Seeta.

Another book of the same kind -that is to say, written by a man who knows the country-is Sir George Chesney's 'The Dilemma,' published in 1876. The "dilemma" of the title is somewhat difficult to discover, as there are three, if not more, complications in the story to which that name might be given; but the history of Olivia Cunningham and her three lovers serves to introduce many interesting characters and events of the time. Yorke, the young subaltern who imagines himself beloved until he is undeceived by the lady's marriage to Colonel Falkland, an elderly Bayard, is a sympathetic character, and so is the colonel himself; but the best portrait in the book is that of Major Kirke, the dashing soldier of fortune whom Olivia marries after her husband has been reported dead in the relief of Mustaphabad (Lucknow ?). The trials into which this unscrupulous hero drags his unhappy wife grow deeper and deeper, until they

are at once crowned and terminated by the reappearance of the unfortunate Falkland. Kirke, expelled from the army, has entered the service of the Pasha of Egypt, and Falkland, coming to England to obtain a distant glimpse of his wife, dies of the injuries he receives in saving her and her children from a burning house. Olivia, discovering the truth, dies mad, and thus what we take, on mature consideration, to be the dilemma from which the book is named is solved.

Passing over with merely a mention a vigorous work which appeared anonymously in 1883, called 'In the Company's Service,' and founded apparently on the experiences of a distinguished civilian who died only a year or two ago, we come to the writings of an author who is regarded by many

well-qualified judges as the novelist par excellence of the Mutiny. It is scarcely necessary to say that we refer to Mr R. E. Forrest, whose two books, 'The Touchstone of Peril' and 'Eight Days,' are monuments of careful observation and detailed description. If we may suggest a fault in his work, it is that it is too full of these excellent qualities. A panoramic survey of the whole condition of Indian and Anglo-Indian life at the time, after the manner of the famous first chapter of Macaulay's History, makes each book rather a collection of mémoires pour servir than a novel proper. Mr Forrest must note down every circumstance in the environment of his characters, and in this excess of background there is some danger of forgetting the story. Still, this is a fault on the right side, due, as we believe, to the eagerness of an eyewitness of the events he describes to furnish others with all the data possessed by himself, and to explain everything that is capable of explanation.

But there is one crime which we cannot forgive to Mr Forrest, and that is the ruthless massacre in the courtyard of the palace at Khizrabad of all the most interesting characters in 'Eight Days,' under the cruel eyes of the Sikunder Begum. After the defence of the Bank, after Philip Lennox's furious ride through the city, after the hopes and fears and hairbreadth escapes of the day, to end all at one blow in this way! It may be very like life, but it is very bad art.

Our next book is something of a novelty, in that it is the work of a lady, and (although we would by no means imply that this is a necessary consequence) written from a feminine point of view. We have no quarrel with those who raise the cry of "Justice to

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